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Report No. 138

4.7. Article 21 of the Constitution and the power of.-

Certain aspects of the Article 21 were considered. Section 3(w) and (x) of the Bombay Municipal Act define "street" and "public street" to include a highway, a footway or a passage on which the public has the right of passage or access. Under section 289(1) of hhe Act, all pavements and public streets vest in the Corporation and are under the control of the Commissioner. The court held that in so far as Article 21 of the Constitution is concerned, no deprivation of life (either directly or indirectly) is involved in the eviction of the slum and pavement dwellers from public places. The court observed that the Municipal Corporation is under an obligation, under section 314 of the Bombay Municipal Act, to remove obstructions on pavements, public streets and other public places.

The Corporation did not even possess the power to permit any person to occupy a pavement or a public place on a permanent or quasi-permanent basis. The petitioners had not only violated the provisions of the Bombay Municipal Corporation Act, but they had also contravened sections 111 and 115 of the Bombay Police Act. These sections prevent a person from obstructing any other person in the latter's use of a street or public place or from committing a nuisance. Section 117 of the Police Act prescribes punishment for the violation of these sections.



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