HC dismisses plea by jewellers seeking relief from sealing

Favouring a stern approach against the menace of unauthorised construction in the city,the Delhi High Court on Tuesday dismissed a petition by jewellers whose shops in Karol Bagh-based Diamond Mall was sealed for being in breach of municipal bylaws.

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi | Published:February 22, 2012 5:55 am

Favouring a stern approach against the menace of unauthorised construction in the city,the Delhi High Court on Tuesday dismissed a petition by jewellers whose shops in Karol Bagh-based Diamond Mall was sealed for being in breach of municipal bylaws.

Also handing out a word of caution for all those who purchase such properties,the court held that illegality in the form of unauthorised construction could not be condoned and it was the purchasers’ duty to enquire well about a property before buying it.

“The menace of unauthorised construction is eating into our city and cannot be tolerated. Merely because the petitioners claim to be innocent subsequent purchasers cannot be a ground for this court to allow them to retain the illegality,” said a bench of Acting Chief Justice A K Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw.

A petition by owners of 44 jewellery shops in Diamond Mall at Karol Bagh had moved the court against a sealing order passed by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) in August last year. The jewellers submitted that they were just subsequent purchasers of shops and not the owners of the plot or developers of the construction on the said plot. The petition further disputed the fact that their shops was situated on residential plot and also sought a court directive to the MCD to first framing redevelopment plan for the area and defer action till then.

The MCD’s affidavit in the court,however,disclosed that the mall was built up after merging three different plots,out of which only one was permitted to be used for commercial purposes and the remaining two were for residential purposes. It further said the redevelopment plan for the said area was still under preparation and,hence,commercial activities could be allowed only on the plots designated under the Delhi Master Plan 2021.

The MCD also referred to a Supreme Court’s order holding that no court other than the Supreme Court will have any jurisdiction to order a de-sealing of premises sealed under its orders.

Finding substance in the MCD’s submissions,the court noted that though petitioners claimed to be subsequent purchasers of the shops,the fact remains that their claim was steeped in illegality. It dismissed the petition saying the construction of Diamond Mall was done illegally by amalgamating three distinct plots.

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