The Sindh High Court has issued notices to the director traffic management of the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC), the transport secretary and others with a direction to file their comments on resolving traffic regulations and charged parking issues in the city.
Hearing petitions against illegal charged parking in different areas of the city, a division bench headed by Justice Nadeem Akhtar observed that traffic regulations in the city were a serious issue.
The court observed that government agencies illegally designate areas in which charged parking can be claimed, while private persons themselves are misusing public property by charging parking fees in areas which are not even designated by local government authorities for such purposes.
It further said that private persons with the collusion of traffic police are continuing collection of the charged parking fee from these areas. It said that such illegal activities have culminated in an increase in traffic congestion and also prevention of citizens from parking on roads in permissible areas.
The court observed that clarity must be brought to this issue; otherwise, members of the public would clearly be affected by the such illegal activities and it is the duty of the government to regulate these matters.
It issued notices to the director traffic management of the KMC, the secretary transport and the DIG traffic to appear before the court and explain why such illegal activities were being permitted in the city.
The court also directed the government officials to submit a plan to eliminate the illegal charged parking and traffic issues.
It is pertinent to mention that the court had earlier ordered the local bodies authorities and traffic police to ensure that no unauthorized charged parking was taking place in the city. The court warned that appropriate action shall be taken against persons in case of violation of traffic laws.
The petitioners had moved the high court for taking action against persons collecting parking fees in violation of the Supreme Court (SC) orders. They had maintained that the SC had issued clear directions on the issue, but private contractors were collecting parking fees on different roads of the city.
They alleged the private contractors with the connivance of KMC and DMC officials were charging exorbitant fees for the parking of motorcycles and cars by declaring every road and street of the city as charged parking areas.
They requested the high court to direct the authorities concerned to conduct an inquiry into the collection of parking fees by private contractors, and recover the money collected in the past several years.
Earlier, another bench of the SHC had restrained the cantonment boards in the city or any other authority thereunder from collecting parking fees in their jurisdictions until further orders.