Uttaranchal HC directs petrol pump owners to permit ‘free use’ of toilets

Uttaranchal High Court: A Division Bench comprising of Rajiv Sharma and Lok Pal Singh, JJ., while deciding a writ petition-public interest litigation, directed construction of public toilets and urinals for the use of public at large.

The petition was entertained on the basis of a letter addressed to the Hon’ble Chief Justice highlighting the lack of facilities in certain areas of Haridwar. District Magistrate filed an affidavit indicating the areas where public toilets were not available. The Court also took judicial notice of the fact that public toilets/urinals were not available in the majority of the roads including National Highways throughout the State. It was also observed that despite directions issued by the Oil Companies, petrol pump owners did not permit ordinary commuters to use the toilets/urinals. The toilets are locked and people who do not buy petrol are not permitted to use them.

In such facts and circumstances, the High Court issued certain directions. The State was directed to construct a sufficient number of toilets/urinals, for the use of public at large, within a period of six months. It was further directed that the charges for use of the same should not be exorbitant, and no charges to be taken from children below 12 years and elderly women. Owners of petrol pumps were directed to permit free use of toilets/urinals to all the commuters. It was further directed that cleanliness of toilets/urinals shall be maintained. Besides, making the availability of drinking water to commuters was also directed to petrol pump owners. [Gopal Krishna Badola v. State of Uttarakhand, 2018 SCC OnLine Utt 596, dated 19-6-2018]

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