PRESS STATEMENT on behalf of Citizens For Democracy

As per law, name of Aurangzeb Road cannot be changed

Citizens For Democracy, ‘CFD’ in short,  is shocked that the New Delhi Municipal council, NDMC in short, has decided to rename the  ‘Aurangzeb Road’ in New Delhi as the ‘Dr.A.P.J. Abdul Kalam Road’. The said decision is totally illegal, unjustified arbitrary and against our constitutional ethos. It appears to be guided by not reason and law but by  narrow communal consideration.

It is well known that a section in BJP has long been agitating to change the name of Aurangzeb Road to some other names but it each time this proposal has failed.

Shri Haribhai Parathibhai Chaudhary, Minister of State for Home Affairs,  made a statement on behalf of the Home Ministry that  Aurangzeb Road could not be renamed since the policy is not to rename any  road named after a historical figure.

In reply to a question in the Lok Sabha on April 21, 2015, the Minister of State for Home Affairs, Haribhai Parathibhai Chaudhary said that the nomenclature of various roads, crossings, streets colonies and parks in the NCT of Delhi is governed by guidelines issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India in 1975 (No. 13022/34/74- Delhi of 27.9.1975).

These guidelines make it clear, he said, that “changes in the names of streets/roads etc. not only create confusion for the Post Offices and the public, but also deprive the people of a sense of history. Therefore, it was decided that the name of existing streets/road etc., should not be changed.”

Chaudhary gave his answer in reply to a question by BJP MP Om Birka from Kota, Rajasthan, who wanted to know the government’s criteria for naming roads and streets in the Capital and whether the government was considering any proposals for “renaming the various roads of the NCT of Delhi which are named after foreign invaders” with the names of “revolutionaries, freedom fighters and martyrs of the country.”

The minister said it was government policy that only new streets or existing streets which were “without specific names” could be named after eminent local, national or international personalities as a way of honouring them.

Thus as per guidelines of the government, the name of the ‘Aurangzeb Road’  cannot be  changed. The memory of Dr.Abdul Kalam could have been better served by building  a scientific or educational institute  under  his name.

Last December, the Modi government told the Lok Sabha that the NDMC had indeed received a letter from the Bharatiya Janata Party in Delhi in October 2014 requesting that the name of  “Aurangzeb” Road be changed to “Guru Gobind Singh Road”  and also a request from the Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Management Committee (DSGMC) for the road to named after  Guru Tegh Bahadur Road.

“The name of the said road was not changed by the NDMC in light of the guidelines of the Ministry of Home Affairs,” Minister of State Chaudhary said on December 17, 2014.

Apart from the government replies in Parliament, the NDMC itself has repeatedly turned down requests for changing the name of roads in Delhi citing the rules. In this 2007 resolution, for example, the Council stressed two key guidelines

  •  The names of existing streets should not be changed.
  •  Names which are a part of history may not be altered.

We therefore  demand that NDMC should immediately withdraw that decision and  not to take any step for implementing the said decision.

A notice in this respect has already been sent to the concerned authorities on behalf of the Citizens For Democracy (CFD).

Kuldip Nayar           Justice Rajindar Sachar (Retd.)      N.D.Pancholi

President, C.F.D.      Former President PUCL                     Secretary, C.F.D.                                                                                                             (9811099532)