Raj HC | Court expresses discontent over State Govt’s inaction of allocating funds for public park; directs authorities for development with immediate effect

Rajasthan High Court: A Division Bench of Vinit Kumar Mathur and Sangeet Lodha, JJ. disposed of a writ petition and directed the respective authorities and State Government in a matter relating to maintenance of a public park.

In the present case, the petitioners being public citizens filed a PIL seeking directions to the respondents to maintain and upkeep the entire Mandore Gardens. The place has been a public park, usually known for its historical, cultural, religious, and environmental significance thereby being a place of attraction for the tourists in the city of Jodhpur, which has been subjected to deleterious inaction from the State Government and gradual ravishment.

The counsel representing the petitioners, Rajvendra Sarasawat submitted that the Garden has been lacking proper maintenance coupled with infrastructure facilities and requisite manpower. The Counsel submitted that the public park is losing its importance due to such lack in necessary public facilities and more importantly, there are no adequate security measures thus making it an unsafe place for the general public to visit.

The Additional Advocate General, Karan Singh Rajpurohit filed a reply to the writ petition providing details of funds sanctioned by the Archaeological Survey of India for financial years and submitted that the funds were not sanctioned by the State Government, therefore, such inaction towards the public park has taken place. Regarding the deployment of requisite staff for, it was put forth that the state had not appointed any Garden Superintendent for the last three years. The respondents also submitted a status report which showed that various posts were lying vacant.

The High Court stated that the public parks are governed under the Rajasthan Public Parks Act, 1956 and Rajasthan Public Park Rules, 1959 wherein the disputed park is listed in the Schedule of the Rules. The stated Act and Rules prescribe for providing a Superintendent for the management and control of the park. It was also noted that “entry in the park is regulated by the provisions of the Rules. Any person doing any act prohibited under the Act is treated to be ‘park offense’, which is punishable. It is the duty of the park servant, which includes Choudhary, Mat, Mali, Chowkidar and Zoo Keeper, borne on permanent establishment or contingency paid, are duty-bound to prevent the commission of park offences. Thus, to ensure the proper control, management and maintenance of the Park and to avoid the commission of the park offences, it is absolutely necessary that the requisite staff is posted by the State Government in each Public Park.”

The Division Bench stated that despite the request for budget allocation towards the development of the park, the State Government had been ignorant of such requests. The Court directed the respective authorities, Archaeological Survey of India, the State Government, and the Jodhpur Development Authority to undertake necessary action and plan a proper development of the public park with immediate effect.[Ranchhor Singh Parihar v. State Of Rajasthan, 2019 SCC OnLine Raj 1651, decided on 20-07-2019]

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