Where the manner of doing a particular act is prescribed under statute, the act must be done in that manner or not at all

Chhattisgarh High Court: The order of the District Magistrate, Bilaspur, restricting the movement of vehicles in the Tiger Reserve Area was quashed by a Single Judge Bench comprising of Sanjay K. Agrawal, J.

The District Magistrate, in exercise of powers conferred under Section 115 of the Motor Vehicles Act 1988, passed the order directing the closure of the highway that passed through the Tiger Reserve concerned. The petitioners contended that the said order was passed without jurisdiction and it violated their fundamental right guaranteed under Article 19(1)(d) of the Constitution.

In order to settle the controversy, the High Court, inter alia, discussed Article 19(1)(d) of the Constitution as well as Section 115 of the MVA, 1988. The Court observed that considering the right under Article 19(1)(d), a permanent restriction on freedom of movement is prima facie suspect, but the said right is not absolute and is subject to reasonable restrictions. Further, S. 115 of the MVA provides that it is necessary that if the restriction on use of a road is for more than one month, a statutory notification has to be issued in the Official Gazette.

 The Court observed it to be a long settled principle of law that if the manner of doing a particular act is prescribed under any statute, the act must be done in that manner or not at all. The Court found that the requirement of publication of notification under second part of S. 115, which was sine qua non for putting restriction on use of a road for more than one month, was not complied with. Consequently, the Court held that above mentioned order of the District Magistrate was liable to be quashed. The District Magistrate was directed to open the road for the restricted purpose of use as a highway. [Dharamjeet Singh v. State of Chhattisgarh, 2018 SCC OnLine Chh 255, order dated 07-03-2018]

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