`Cantonment Board closes over 20 roads unilaterally in Secunderabad': FNECS

The statement reported having been made by President Cantonment Board in a Meeting on Jan 30, 2021, that no "civilian road" in Secunderabad Cantonment is closed, is puzzling.

By Newsmeter Network  Published on  1 Feb 2021 5:57 AM GMT
`Cantonment Board closes over 20 roads unilaterally in Secunderabad: FNECS

Hyderabad: The statement reported having been made by President Cantonment Board in a Meeting on Jan 30, 2021, that no "civilian road" in Secunderabad Cantonment is closed, is puzzling.

The President of Secunderabad Cantonment Board made the statement as the head of the Cantonment Board meeting. It is therefore obvious that this cannot be seen as a casual statement made without knowledge of the legal position, expressed the resident of Federation of Northeastern Colonies of Secunderabad (FNECS)

Speaking about the jurisdiction and the number of civilian roads within the Cantonment, the FNECS explained, The legal position, however, is that there is nothing called a "civilian road" in either Cantonments Act 2006, or Cantonment Land Administration Rules (CLAR) 1937. These are the two statutes relevant to the issue. The terminology used in both these statutes is roads on which "the public has right of way".

Sec 2 (zza) of Cantonments Act 2006 defines roads on which the public has "right of way" as "streets".

And Sec 258 gives the procedure to be followed if a "street" has to be closed. This section gives the power to close a "street" only to Cantonment Board (and not to the Local Military Authorities or LMA).

The roads in Secunderabad Cantonment were however closed by LMA. Not by Cantonment Board.

With this background, the only important question is whether the closed roads were ones on which the public had the "right of way" or not. If they were, then LMA obviously had no legal power to close them.

The answer to this question is already there in the manner in which these roads are recorded in the General Land Register (GLR) maintained in Secunderabad Cantonment.

CLAR 1937 stipulates that if the public has the "right of the way" on a road then that road has to be assigned a Survey Number different from the Survey Number(s) assigned to the land parcels through which the road passes (In fact this stipulation is there in all municipal Acts and not just in those related to Cantonments).

CLAR 1937 further stipulates that all such roads (on which the public has "right of way") and which are maintained by the same agency may be clubbed together in the same Survey Number.

Finally, CLAR 1937 stipulates that roads over which public have "right of way", and which are maintained by Military Engineer Service (MES), are to be classified as "A1" in the GLR, while those that are maintained by Cantonment Board are to be classified as "C".

*It is a matter of record that the GLR assigns different Survey Numbers to ALL closed roads in Secunderabad Cantonment, from the Survey Numbers assigned to the land parcels through which these roads pass.*

*Since the GLR is maintained according to the rules given in CLAR 1937, this is a categorical admission that all these roads are ones on which public has "right of way"*.

Further, the GLR clubs together the roads maintained by Cantonment Board in Survey No 778, and those maintained by MES in Survey No 779. This is also in line with the stipulations in CLAR 1937.

Finally, the GLR classifies the roads in Survey 778 as "A1" (as they are maintained by MES) and those in Survey 779 as "C" (since they are maintained by Cantonment Board).

So when the roads are recorded in Cantonment's own land record, in a manner which acknowledges "public right of way" on them, where is the scope for any other interpretation?

The President Cantonment Board and the LMA need to understand their mistake and make amends by forthwith reopening the more than 20 roads over which public has "right of way", which they have closed unilaterally despite not having any legal power to do so.

The above views are of Federation of Northeastern Colonies of Secunderabad (FNECS) residents and not of NewsMeter


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