The Supreme Court on Friday directed Delhi Police to provide security to members of the court-mandated monitoring panel who is looking into the ongoing sealing drive held by municipal corporations across the national capital.
A bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta took serious note of a report of the committee that MLA O P Sharma and councillor Gunjan Gupta, along with their supporters, had obstructed the panel members from carrying out their work in Shahdara zone. The bench show caused Sharma and Gupta and sought an explanation as to why contempt of court action should not be initiated against them for interfering in the committee’s work. It directed both of them to remain present before the court on the next date of hearing and listed the matter for further proceedings after two weeks.
The sealing drive, which was ordered against the misuse of residential properties for commercial use, non-payment of “user conversion charge” and unauthorised construction, has witnessed the shutdown of as many as 100 establishments since December. Traders across Connaught Place, Defence Colony market, Khan market, Vasant Kunj and GK1 were mostly targetted by the municipal body in the crackdown against illegal markets and were forced to wind up operations.
As per officials, this has been the biggest drive conducted by the civic bodies against unauthorised construction.
In another development, the apex court also asked the state government and Delhi Development Authority (DDA) if the safety of buildings was taken into consideration before introducing amendments in the Delhi Master Plan, 2021, which the government said would provide relief to traders.
The bench ordered the two parties to file, within a week, an affidavit giving details on whether issues like safety of buildings, traffic congestion, parking and availability of civic amenities were taken into account before proposing the amendment. It also asked whether an environmental impact assessment was conducted before proposing amendments in the master plan.
The court also sought statistical data related to the pollution level in Delhi since 2007, from the Central Pollution Control Board and Delhi Pollution Control Committee.
With inputs from PTI