The Allahabad High Court has stayed the construction activity at Vikramaditya Marg, a high-security zone in the state capital. This is the area where former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister reportedly planned to construct a heritage hotel.
The order was issued by a Bench comprising Justice Vikram Nath and Justice Abdul Moin on a petition filed by Advocate Shishir Chaturvedi.
At the outset, the Court noted that Mr. Chaturvedi was being threatened by unknown people to withdraw the petition. Taking note of these allegations, the Court discharged the petitioner and treated his petition as a suo motu PIL.
It explained, “Having perused the material on record, we feel that this is a fit case which is to be taken up as a P.I.L. and we accordingly direct that the petitioner be discharged as petitioner from this petition and it may be treated as suo motu P.I.L. for the simple reason that quite often, it is noticed that at some stage, the petitioner tends to withdraw P.I.L. for whatever reasons. To avoid the situation that a genuine P.I.L. may be allowed to be withdrawn, we have passed the above order treating it as suo motu P.I.L.”
Mr. Chaturvedi’s counsel, Advocate Sudeep Kumar was directed to continue to assist the court as amicus curiae. A copy of the order was also ordered to be served upon the Director General of Police and the Principal Secretary (Home), directing him to ensure that adequate security is provided to Mr. Chaturvedi, his family members and his property, if his statement is found to be correct upon internal enquiry.
The Court then went on to take note of newspaper reports claiming that “illegal construction activities” are being undertaken in high security and VIP zones in and around Kalidas Marg, Vikramaditya Marg and Gautampalli at Lucknow. It noted that such activities were being undertaken without appropriate sanctions from the State and the Lucknow Development Authority, to set up party offices.
It further noted that party leaders are also seeking requests for building hotels and multi-storeyed buildings in these areas. Opining that allowing such construction activities would compromise the region’s security, it observed,
“This V.I.P. Zone caters to the residences of Chief Minister, the Chief Secretary, the Chairman, Board of Revenue, Judges of the High Court, Cabinet Ministers, Ministers and very Senior I.A.S. Officers. If such activities are permitted in this V.I.P. Zone apparently it cannot be said that it would be safe and secure nor would the life of the residents of the area be peaceful.”
Therefore, staying the construction in the area, the Court directed the Estate Officer (Rajya Sampathi Adhikari); Vice- Chairman, Lucknow Development Authority; Nagar Ayukt, Lucknow Nagar Nigam; and the Principal Secretary, Housing & Urban Development to verify the facts presented by the petition and produce relevant records before the Court.
It ordered, “We accordingly direct as an interim measure that till the next date of listing, no further constructions would be raised over plot No.19-A, Vikramaditya Marg, Lucknow, Khasra No.8-D, Mohalla Ramna Dilkusha (Vikramaditya Marg), Lucknow, Nazul Land Khasra No.8C, Mohalla Ramna, Dilkusha (now known as 1-A, Vikramaditya Marg, Lucknow, and House No.7, Type - VI, Bandariya Bagh, Lucknow.
The Estate Officer (Rajya Sampathi Adhikari) and Vice-Chairman, Lucknow Development Authority as also the Nagar Ayukt, Lucknow Nagar Nigam all will produce photographs of the alleged constructions being raised over the aforesaid plots and the said photography shall be done within twenty-four hours.”
The matter will now be heard on 5 September.