The Supreme Court on Thursday granted relief to some lawyers whose office located in the basement of a building in the posh Hauz Khas market here was sealed, asking the South Delhi Municipal Corporation to de-seal it. A bench comprising Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta issued notice to the SDMC which assured the court that necessary action would be taken during the course of the day.
The bench said the concerned SDMC official should de-seal the basement of the building to the extent that it could be used as the lawyers’ office till the next date of hearing on February 9. “The concerned officer of the SDMC should de-seal the basement to the extent that it can be used as a lawyers office until the next date of hearing,” the bench said in its order.
Senior advocate Shyam Divan, appearing for the owners of building, told the court that the basement at the building in the Hauz Khas main market was used as an office by some lawyers and this professional activity was permissible in terms of the Building Byelaws of 1983 and 2016 respectively. He said the basement of the building, which was divided into parts including the lawyers’ office, was sealed by the authorities.
The bench was also informed that the owners had re-constructed the building and had applied for sanction in 2006 which was granted. The apex court had earlier said the rule of law over sanction to construct buildings has “completely broken down” and expressed concern over the rampant illegal constructions. It had decided to restore powers of the 2006 Monitoring Committee, which was relieved in 2012, to identify and seal unauthorised premises and construction in the city.
The Monitoring Committee, comprising K J Rao, former advisor to the election commissioner, Bhure Lal, chairman of the Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA), and Major General (Retd) Som Jhingan, was set up in March 24, 2006, by the apex court to oversee the implementation of the law relating to sealing of offending premises.