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Friday, September 17, 2021

‘Illegal’ buildings near Qutub Minar: Delhi HC seeks South MCD response

Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva, while listing the case for August 20, directed the Deputy Commissioner (South Zone) to be present on the date.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
Updated: July 31, 2021 6:55:58 am
The court also directed that responsibility be fixed on officers who ‘permitted’ the illegal constructions. (Archive)

Seeking complete details of properties which have unauthorisedly come up in the vicinity of Qutub Minar, the Delhi High Court has directed the Municipal Commissioner (South Zone) to fix responsibility of officers who were supposed to monitor the area but “have permitted” the illegal constructions.

Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva, while listing the case for August 20, directed the Deputy Commissioner (South Zone) to be present on the date. “Let the status report-cum-action taken report be filed before the next date of hearing,” said the court. The court has also directed the South Delhi Municipal Corporation to ensure that none of the illegal properties are permitted to be occupied, if not already occupied.

The order was passed in a petition filed by Rinku Kaushik in 2018 alleging that a “vast illegal and unauthorised colony” was being developed on government land adjoining Qutub Minar and “six storied and above height buildings are being constructed there”. During the hearing Thursday, the petitioner said that despite repeated directions, the officers of the SDMC have permitted the illegal constructions.

In October 2020, the court had termed it “baffling” how the SDMC permitted a row of houses to come up in the vicinity of Qutub Minar and asked the DCP of the area to file a status report explaining how “large-scale construction” was permitted despite a strict vigil of the police there.

“All these structures are in the vicinity of the Qutub Minar and it is imperative that the ambience of the area be maintained, especially in view of the strict prohibited and regulated zones regarding construction near protected monuments. Has the ASI been consulted? Interestingly, the photographs annexed to the ATR show multi-storey buildings being constructed,” Justice Najmi Waziri said in the order last year.

The observation was then made by the court after seeing an action taken report submitted by the SDMC which, as per the order, showed demolition of some structures in the area. While the SDMC described it as “appropriate action” against unauthorised construction, the court noted that the “isolated punctures” in walls or roofs are insufficient.

In April 2019, the SDMC informed the court that nine properties have been identified of the 23 mentioned in Kaushik’s representations. In September 2019, the civic body submitted that action has been taken as per law against the properties identified by it.

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