With the delay in redevelopment and decongestion of Chandni Chowk, the Delhi High Court on Thursday asked the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to file an affidavit, explaining why two police officials — who had been appointed as nodal officers by the court — were transferred without prior permission.
The bench of Justice Badar Durrez Ahmed and Justice Jayant Nath sought an explanation after it was informed that the Joint Commissioner of Police and the Joint CP (Traffic), who were both nodal officers appointed to coordinate with other agencies regarding the work of redevelopment, were transferred, leading to delays as their replacement nodal officers had not been appointed.
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“You have no authority to transfer (them) without prior intimation to the court,” observed the bench.
The bench has now asked the Delhi government to request former Delhi government Chief Secretary Rakesh Mehta to take up the position of “senior nodal officer” to coordinate the work between various agencies.
The court has suggested the North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) to look into granting registration numbers in the form of digitised bar codes to rickshaws plying in Chandni chowk, which could be scanned by the police if a vehicle is found violating rules. The bench also suggested that licences could be given to rickshaw pullers, in addition to the rickshaw owners by the NDMC, and a “spot registration camp” could be held to enable rickshaw pullers to register.
It has asked the NDMC counsel to get instructions and file the agency’s response by next week. The matter will be taken up on November 30.
The court was hearing PILs filed by NGO Manushi Sangathan and others in 2007 on the issue of redevelopment of the walled city and creation of lanes for non-motorised vehicles.
During the hearing, the NGO alleged that an “extortion racket” was being run in the area by corporation officials and sought spot registration instead of asking rickshaw owners or pullers to go to the office of the civic body.