Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Rights of passage

Wierd things happen in our law-courts...
Take the example of 'T. Nirmala and another Vs. Sub Area Commander-A.P., Bollarum, Secunderabad and others'

There's a petition in the High Court of Andhra Pradesh filed by the residents of some locality in Secunderabad. Apparently, they'd been using a road that passed through a 'defence' area. They'd been doing this for ages, without being hassled by the army.
The problem arose when the army wirefused to allow them to repair this road!

My regulatory update from Manupatra tells me that "The question for consideration before the High Court was, whether long and extensive use of the road would confer any rights in the petitioners qua the right of passage through defence land... The Andhra Pradesh High Court, dismissed the writ petition, it was held that the petitioners had no vested rights and as such they cannot claim passage through defence land as a matter of right."

What I say is, they should never have offered to get the road repaired... typical case of 'neki kar, dariya mein daal' (this does not lend itself to translation; I shall not bother).

And if 'long and extensive use' does not confer any right to passage through any piece of land (there's no such thing as 'defence' land... all defence property is essentially public property, and therefore should be taken back, if required), what does?

But I suppose, that is the problem with the modern legal outlook as far as 'rights' are concerned. Peasants have no rights over the lands they till. People have no right to employment. Lovers have no right to make love. Fishermen have no right to use rivers. Tribals have no right to use forests. And those who have always lived and worked on the streets, have no right to live or work on the streets.

1 comment:

Ashok said...

I dont know, perhaps I see law differently. But I dont equate tilling rights with ownership of land, just as I dont as think that people who live on the streets have more rights to the streets than you or me do.

The law cannot take on shades of gray, it is either black or white.

This reminds me of the incident in Nagpur where the women killed an opressive ganglord. This comes across as morally very justified, but not legally...

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