Vansh, 12, Ansh, 13, Adarsh, 11, and Devanshu, 11, and all children in Panchkula, can now play football or cricket in parks near their houses, thanks to an interim court order.
With children in cities finding it difficult to find open grounds to play cricket or football, these four boys, residents of Sector-7, here, filed a petition in court demanding that they be allowed to play in local parks in the residential areas in the city and the court has allowed children to play in such spaces.
In an interim order on January 20, civil judge (junior division) Jasleen Narang ordered that children be allowed to play in these parks till further orders. The boys had moved court through their fathers in August 2014.
Now, Panchkula has legal sanction to give children the space to play in neighborhood parks, Chandigarh has no policy and in SAS Nagar, the children are not allowed to play in parks.
The petition was against Park Development Society, a body charged with maintenance parks in residential areas, the Panchkula MC and the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA), demanding the right to play in parks.
“Our children used to complain that people who headed park development societies do not allow them to play,” said Arun Maheshwari, one of the petitioners and Varun’s father.
Before moving court, Maheshwari, a stock broker, had filed an application under the RTI Act, in 2013, asking for reasons on why the children were not being allowed to play in such parks.
In reply, the MC told him that children were not authorised to play anywhere. The MC admitted that it had no policy for outdoor activities and recreation of children in Panchkula.
‘Play is a right’
Claiming that they had a fundamental right to visit and play in the parks, the boys prayed before the court that not allowing them to play was “ leading to disappearance of children from parks ... this attitude creates hurdles in improving community spirit among children,” the petition added.
“No one has met me yet. We are going to frame a policy allowing children to play either in a park or school,” said Panchkula MC commissioner SP Arora.