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  • Soumya Mani

SAFE ROADS: A FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT

Fundamental Rights are basic rights inherent in human being. It has been enunciated under Part - III of the Indian Constitution. It guarantees certain basic rights to the citizens of India which are available to them in all the circumstances. These rights, in no condition, can be waived off.


Out of all the fundamental rights bestowed under Part - III of the Constitution, Right to Privacy enumerated under Article - 21 is the most heated topic of discussion in India. This article has been given the widest possible interpretation till date by the Judiciary. Article - 21 of the Constitution provides : “No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law.” This is a multifarious article also known as the heart and soul of the Constitution and crux of the fundamental rights.


However, the Right to Privacy has not been expressly given under the above mentioned article but it has been adopted as a facet of Article - 21 by the Apex Court in a number of judicial pronouncements. Therefore, it can be said that the bare necessities, minimum and basic requirements which are essential for a person to live a dignified life is the core concept of the right to life and personal liberty.

Karnataka High Court in it’s recent judgement ruled out that the right to have good roads and footpaths has been considered as a fundamental right under Article - 21. Poor condition of roads is a violation of this right. A Division Bench of Chief Justice Abhay Oka and Justice Mohammad Nawaz said that “If citizens are to enjoy fundamental rights, good and safe streets can be treated as something which is needed to live a dignified life.” Adding to this they said that “If citizens suffer due to bad condition of streets it will amount to infringement of fundamental right and under public law remedy, they can seek compensation.” In 2015, Vijayan Memon and three other residents of Kormaqngala in Bengaluru filed a petition complaining about the failure of the civic authority Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagar Palika, in proper maintenance of the roads. The Court prima facie rejected the contentions of the corporation and held that it is the statutory obligation of the civic authorities to construct, repair and maintain roads and footpaths in a proper condition under Section 58 of Karnataka Municipal Corporation Act 1976. The Court also mentioned imposing it a duty on the citizens that it creates a corresponding right on the citizens to enforce obligations on the part of city municipal corporations.

    

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