HC grants relief to man charged close to ₹12L for parking vehicle on public land
Granting relief to a man who was allegedly charged approximately ₹12 lakh for illegal parking and carrying out “commercial activity” in the public land, the Delhi high court said the civic body could not justify the grounds on which the man’s vehicle was seized and hence, cannot ask for the fine.
The aggrieved man in the case, Rahul Kumar, moved court seeking release of his vehicle which was clamped and seized by the East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) in February this year after it received complaints from various agencies regarding illegal parking and commercial activity being carried out in the public land in front of the Shamshan Ghat at Geeta Colony.
The civic body told the court that the petitioner,Kumar,was liable to pay a sum ₹11,99,830 as a penalty for committing the violations.
In a judgment dated July 26, justice Sanjeev Sachdeva, while directing the civic body to release the vehicle, said, “Since there is no justification of the respondent (EDMC) in seizing the vehicle of the petitioner, it cannot demand any amount towards removal charges or storage charges of the vehicle…Clearly, the action of the respondent in seizing the vehicle of the petitioner and raising the demand of approximately ₹12 lakhs...for the release of the vehicle cannot be sustained.”
The judge also said no show cause notice was given to the petitioner, requiring him to remove his vehicle from the public land or directing him not to park his vehicle on the said location. It added Kumar was not informed of the consequences of parking his vehicle on public land.
The court said the civic body’s affidavit did not state as to what commercial activity was being carried out by Kumar on the public land. “No material has been placed on record by the respondent (EDMC) to substantiate the allegations that loading and unloading of goods was being carried out by the petitioner in the public place,” the court said.
The judge also said that Sections 321 and 322 of the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act did not empower the commissioner to remove a vehicle from a public place unless such vehicle is “used for hawking or exposing for sale on any public streets or in other public place”.
“The alleged commercial activity of loading and unloading goods in a public place by no stretch of imagination can be covered under the expression “hawked or exposed for sale” as used in section 322 of the Act,” said the court.