Taking note of Delhi government's reservation on the EPCA's suggestion, the Supreme Court on Monday said that at the moment, nobody is allowed to charge people for parking vehicle in their residential areas. The same can be seen as a temporary relief for the city's residents. "We are not permitting anybody to charge anything from anybody right now," said a bench which was headed by Justice Arun Mishra and Justice Deepak Gupta told the counsel representing Delhi Government. The Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA) has suggested that parking permits can be issued to the residents based on a monthly lump sum which can be decided in consultation with the resident welfare association.
The Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA), in its report filed in the apex court, has said that the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) has initiated a pilot project on parking area management plan in Lajpat Nagar that encompasses both commercial area of the central market and adjacent residential colonies there. Referring to this pilot project, which was initiated by the SDMC, the EPCA said that the same shows how the parking management area plan will be needed to be developed and then implemented in different zones and colonies of the city.
The EPCA said in its report that in addition, parking permits can be issued to the resident based on a monthly lump sum to be decided in consultation with the resident welfare association. These stickers will help to distinguish resident's cars from the cars coming to commercial centres/market. It further added that the permits can also be used to restrict the numbers of vehicles by charging more or by not allowing residents to park addition cars in front of their houses but instead in the alternative sites.
Aparajita Singh, who is assisting the top court as the amicus curiae in a pollution matter, told the bench that the three municipal corporations in the national capital have agreed to implement the pilot project. The counsel appearing for one of the municipal corporations told the court that they are supporting the suggestions of the EPCA in this regard. However, the counsel appearing for Delhi government said, "In residential areas, they (EPCA) are saying that parking fee can be levied on the residents. Our reservation is on that".
The bench told the Delhi government's counsel that at this point, it is of the view that the pilot project should be implemented by municipal corporations. The apex court had last week asked the Delhi government to give its response to the EPCA's report on parking area management plan in the national capital. The amicus curiae had earlier told the court that the SDMC has done a commendable job in devising a parking management area plan for the crowded Lajpat Nagar market area and the adjacent colonies.
She had said the new parking space was utilised in such a manner that it even provides a way for emergency response vehicles and the model can be replicated by others. The EPCA, in its report, has said it is clear from the Lajpat Nagar project that currently the colonies are over-saturated with cars and badly organised for parking of commercial and residential vehicles. Highlighting the problem, the report said there is a huge gap between parking demand and supply, which will grow in the absence of restraints and regulations on legal and illegal parking.
It said that the parking area management plan can only be enforced if there is a legal framework which provides for deterrence against illegal parking and penalties for not adhering to the plan. The issue of parking has cropped up before the apex court which is hearing the matters related to air pollution in the Delhi-national capital region.