The Delhi High Court on Tuesday came down heavily on the Delhi Police for putting unmanned barricades on roads causing blockage and traffic jams and directed a senior police officer to be present before it.
A bench of Justices Mukta Gupta and Anish Dayal was hearing a matter in which the court had earlier taken suo motu cognizance of a letter written to the Prime Minister which was in turn sent to the Delhi High Court for taking action against the placement of unmanned barricades on several roads in south Delhi area.
“What is all this, roads are meant for traffic or being closed like this,” the bench said.
At the outset, the bench observed that in the evening peak traffic hours, policemen put barricades on roads and keep standing to a side without looking at the traffic.
This one unmanned barricade also causes a huge traffic jam. This is how you manage traffic by blocking all the routes. If someone has a medical emergency, he will first have to spend half an hour to cross that way and the ill person might not reach the hospital in time.
“The one who has to escape, he manages to give you a slip anyway. At 6 PM when the traffic is at its peak you put these barricades and block roads,” the bench said.
The court noted that the Delhi Police, in its status report, stated that a standing order on ‘Procurement, maintenance and operational usage of mobile barricades’ has been revised in 2021 and it has been instructed that under no circumstances, the barricades should be left unmanned and should be removed from the carriageway and footpaths when not in use so that they do not cause any traffic hindrance or became a cause of potential hazard for motorists and pedestrians.
The police also placed on record a March 4, 2022 letter of Police Headquarters which was issued for sensitising the staff for ensuring meticulous compliance with the directions contained in the standing order of 2021.
The bench said, Special Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) will be present in the court on the next date of hearing with a detailed report as to how the compliance of the standing order of 2021 will be ensured.
The court listed the matter for further hearing on September 5.
It also heard an application showing barricading done in the Vasant Kunj area in South Delhi as the photographs showed that not only unmanned barricades have been placed on the road but the entire road is blocked by the mobile barricades.
The high court had earlier said unmanned barricades on roads serve no purpose and cause harassment to the public and had asked the police to submit the protocol followed by it for placing barricades in the city.
The issue raised by Om Prakash Goel (who wrote the letter) requires consideration since these unmanned barricades on roads prima facie serve no purpose and indeed cause inconvenience and harassment to the public at large. Such barricades also have been used to set up kiosks and for parking vehicles, the high court had said.
It had issued notices to the Commissioner of Delhi Police, the Delhi government, the Centre, through the Ministry of Home Affairs, and South Delhi Municipal Corporation through its Commissioner.
A PIL was registered by the high court in February 2022, while taking cognisance of the December 10, 2021 letter by Goel, who claims to be the President of Delhi Pradeshik Aggarwal Sammelan, to the Prime Minister which has in turn been sent to the court.
He had raised grievances relating to the setting up of unmanned barricades in Kalkaji and CR Park police station areas in south Delhi and circulated several media reports on the issue.
His grievance was that these barricades serve no purpose and lead to blockades of free flow of traffic, causing misery and harassment to vehicle owners and the general public and leading to long traffic jams and hold-ups.
(With PTI inputs)