HC wipes 26-yr-old ‘disturbed area blot’ off Chandigarh
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Terming it a "blot", the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Tuesday removed the tag of 'disturbed area' from the City Beautiful, which it had been carrying since 1986.
Describing the decision to continue with the tag as wholly "unjustified", the High Court today held "there is no ground to give draconian powers to forces to take life of any individual under the garb of the provisions of the Disturbed Area tag".
Observing that "worse" conditions prevailed in other states, which have not been declared as "disturbed areas", the High Court held that though there may not be a direct impact on the state exchequer by continuing with the tag, it would be a deterrent for tourists visiting the city.
The two notifications passed by the Chandigarh Administration declaring Chandigarh a 'disturbed area' and continuing with the label were quashed today. "Now, it is City Beautiful," remarked the division bench comprising acting Chief Justice Jasbir Singh and Justice Rakesh Kumar Jain after setting aside both the notifications.
The first notification was issued on December 2, 1986, during the tenure of the then UT Administrator Siddhartha Shankar Ray. The second was issued on December 5, 1991, by the Administration, taking a conscious decision to continue with the tag. Om Prakash Malhotra was then the UT Administrator.
As ordered, the Punjab government today told the High Court that the last time it (Punjab) had issued a notification declaring a district as 'disturbed area' was in 1996. The said notification was revoked in May 1997. However, Amritsar, Gurdaspur and Ferozepur were declared 'disturbed areas' under a separate notification, which was withdrawn on July 28, 2008.
"The tag was given to the city during the time of terrorism and Punjab was given special powers. It may not be a financial burden, but itself is a blot on the city, as Chandigarh is one of the most well planned cities," the division bench stated.
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