The Bombay High Court at the Nagpur bench this week said that it is the duty of every citizen to cooperate with the construction work of a national highway. The HC said these highways are important as they connect small villages with bigger cities.
A bench of Justices Sunil Shukre and Anil Pansare was hearing a plea filed by one Vijaykumar Harkut and a few others challenging the notices issued by the Highway Authorities in December 2021, giving them a weeks time to either vacate the site where their homes stood or to furnish documents proving their ownership.
Harkut and others had their houses on a site, which stood on the lands that were earmarked for construction of Achalpur Highway. They claimed that the authorities didn't comply with the Maharashtra Highways Act, 1955 as they failed to conduct the necessary survey and measurements and also
levels of the lands and demarcate the boundaries of the highway by pointing stones and other suitable marks of
different colour but, in this case nothing has been done.
The authorities, however, argued that they had given Harkut and others, enough time to furnish their ownership proof.
"We cannot lose sight of the fact that the work of highway had been started much earlier and, therefore, Harkut and others did have an idea about what may happen to their constructions, if their constructions ventured inside the boundary of the national highway," the bench noted.
"After all, construction of a national highway is a project of great national importance and, therefore, it is the duty of every citizen to co-operate with the authorities in constructing the national highway within minimum
required time," the bench said.
It further said, "It is well-known that any national highway constitutes main channel of transportation and
communication and serves a bigger object of connecting smaller cities, towns and villages with the bigger cities thereby expediting effective rendering of different kinds of services to citizens of India."
Accordingly, the bench said that whenever such a project is undertaken by the Highway Authority and reasonable time as in the present case is given to the persons who have made encroachments in the opinion of the Highway Authority, such persons must exhibit all promptitude at their command to submit the requisite documents and co-operate with the authorities.
The judges, accordingly, dismissed the petitions.