Many of the roads are arbitrarily closed from time to time and we have to approach the High Court and the Supreme Court repeatedly to have our Fundamental Right of Movement restored to us. Currently about 6 roads are blocked.
Now the Defence Minister of India, Shri Manohar Parrikar, has taken a strong stand and ordered all the roads that have been closed in Cantonments opened forthwith. There are total of 122 roads covered in our 72 Petitions.
As per Section 258 of the Cantonments Act 2006 which empowers only the Cantonment Board to close a road in Cantonment, and that too only with the prior permission of the G.O.C. or the Principal Director.
The ministry’s order regarding adherence to legal procedure before closing roads in cantonment areas is a beginning towards this effort. The order will not apply to internal roads but to cantonment roads that link civilian areas. This will resolve many issues.
On Cantonment Boards, civilians are in a majority. The District Magistrate is a crucial member and all MPs and MLAs are special invitees to protect the interests of civilians.
There are 62 Cantonments in India and we are liaising with as many as possible to ensure a balance between civilian and military interests.