Encroachment on pavements cannot be permitted to stand and no person has the right to maintain them, the Delhi High Court has said as it once again called for response from all civic bodies concerned on relocation of idols and religious structures obstructing pedestrian and vehicular movement in Karol Bagh area and other encroachments in the Southern ridge.
“Such structures encroaching on a pavement need to be relocated given the public interest involved, rights of citizens of Delhi impeding public movement, causing obstruction of traffic and more so when it is alleged that the encroachment has been effected and structure raised by particular person(s) to create private rights,” noted a bench headed by Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar.
“So far as any religious structures are concerned, the GNCTD shall place before this court the possibility regarding relocation of such structures,” the bench ordered.
“Encroachment on pavements cannot be permitted to stand, no person has any right to maintain such structures and encroachment,” the bench remarked.
The court was hearing the petitions moved by Paardarshita Public Welfare Foundation, an NGO run by Harkrishan Das Nijhawan along with the petition filed by People All India Anti-Corruption and Crime Prevention Society and another by Fight for Right Welfare Society.
The petitioners brought to the court’s attention massive encroachment like illegal construction and religious structures and idols on pavements and public passages in Delhi’s Karol Bagh area.
Satyakam, advocate for the Delhi government and also the Delhi Police submitted that the inquiry into the particulars of persons behind erecting idols and residential structures illegally in Karol Bagh is underway and shall be completed within a week.
Possibility of relocation of idol and any religious structures placed on the pavements.
DDA’s counsel senior advocate Rajiv Bansal informed the court that it has undertaken several projects of relocation of temples and religious structures.
The DDA also submitted that it has cleared 1177 sq yards of ridge area of the encroachment and the area has been handed over to its horticulture department.
It is to be noted that the court had in May 2017, appointed a committee to look into the issue raised in the petitions. The committee returned its findings including large scale trespass on public land.
It had also pointed out 1170 sq yard land under encroachment on Old Link road which forms part of the southern ridge. This was in violation of the Supreme Court order regarding protection of the ridge area.
The construction of the famous idol of 108ft Hanuman Murti on the Karol Bagh/ Pusa road junction built on the right of way for vehicular traffic was also brought to the court’s attention on November 15.
The court had then directed SHO Karol Bagh police station and DCP Central ridge range as well as the Chief Engineer of PWD to inquire into particulars of persons responsible for erection of idols and unauthorised residential structures.