Court tells MLA who owns ‘private zoo’ to show records of rights over ‘DDA land’

Unperturbed by a petition in the Delhi High Court,Asif Mohammed Khan,MLA from Jasola in South Delhi,had a month ago described his “private collection” of exotic birds and animals as a symbol of his “lineage and aristocracy.”

Written by Utkarsh Anand | New Delhi | Published: March 22, 2012 4:14:30 am

Unperturbed by a petition in the Delhi High Court,Asif Mohammed Khan,MLA from Jasola in South Delhi,had a month ago described his “private collection” of exotic birds and animals as a symbol of his “lineage and aristocracy.”

Khan,an independent legislator,had criticised his “rivals in the government” for the petition,which alleged he had encroached upon public land to run a “private zoo illegally”.

On Wednesday,however,Khan was put in a tight spot,when a bench of Acting Chief Justice A K Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw summarily dismissed his contentions regarding his “rights” over the land,and ordered him to explain his lawful ownership through revenue records.

Khan’s counsel has been directed to produce records of his ownership in the face of allegations that he had encroached on more than 14 bighas of DDA land.

Also ordering demarcation of the entire area within a week to ascertain the claims of those trying to encroach on public land in the area,the bench threw out his counsel’s argument that any adverse order would affect the rights of the residents and being a legislator,he was worried about them.

The court also pulled up the DDA and other authorities for not being able to protect its land from alleged encroachment,after noting that while more than 53 bighas of land were acquired in the area concerned,the land development department was yet to take possession and hand it over to the DDA.

Khan’s collection of animals also came under the scanner,as the bench ordered him to place on affidavit the details of the animals kept by him,“since it was necessary to ascertain if he was actually running an illegal zoo.”

When Newsline had visited Khan in February,he had claimed his emus,turkeys,exotic pigeons,mini doves,Marwari horses and a hound are not part of any “private zoo”. He had said he was related to a family of landlords and rearing of animals was a sign of “aristocracy”.

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