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Delhi High Court Allows Withdrawal Of 14 Yrs Old PIL Concerning Chandni Chowk Redevelopment

Suhavi Arya
13 Jan 2022 4:30 PM GMT
Delhi High Court Allows Withdrawal Of 14 Yrs Old PIL Concerning Chandni Chowk Redevelopment
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The Delhi High Court on Thursday disposed of a 14 years old PIL, concerning redevelopment of the Chandni Chowk area and creation of lanes for non-motorised vehicles.The Court, however, made it clear that various authorities involved in the matter shall continue to comply with its directions passed during the pendency of the petition.The order was passed after Advocate Indira Unninayar,...

The Delhi High Court on Thursday disposed of a 14 years old PIL, concerning redevelopment of the Chandni Chowk area and creation of lanes for non-motorised vehicles.

The Court, however, made it clear that various authorities involved in the matter shall continue to comply with its directions passed during the pendency of the petition.

The order was passed after Advocate Indira Unninayar, appearing for the Petitioner Manushi Sangathan, a civil society organisation, sought leave to withdraw the petition filed in 2007 and urged that the case be wound up.

The division Bench of Justices Siddharth Mridul and Jairam Bhambhani in its order recorded,

"The Petitioner seeks leave to withdraw this petition in view of her assertion that no further directions are called for in the present proceedings and that the same has outlived its purpose. Writ Petition is accordingly dismissed as not pressed."

It may be noted that Senior Advocate Sanjeev Ralli, representing Chandni Chowk Sarv Vyapar Mandal (Respondent no. 6) vociferously opposed withdrawal of the petition. He stated that many directions issued by the Court remain non-complied with and urged the Bench to call for a report from the Nodal Officer.

"In law, can a Petitioner being the dominus litis, be prevented from withdrawing the petition?" the Bench asked Ralli.

"If it has the effect of diluting the orders passed by the Court," he responded.

The Bench however asked Ralli to file a contempt petition in case he is aggrieved by non-compliance of any judicial officer.

"If they do not comply, you file a contempt petition. This cannot go on for eternity. This court is not Shah Jahan. We are not going to rebuild Shahjahanabad," Justice Mridul remarked.

Further, the Bench made it clear that the official Respondents shall continue to comply with all the directions issued by the Court during the course of the petition. These include:

-declaring the ceiling of 99000 as arbitrary on the numerical restriction/ cap on number of cycle rickshaws licenses

-declaring the Owner -must-be-plier policy and byelaw as arbitrary and void;

-declaring that scrapping and banning of cycle rickshaws as contrary to the DMC Act;

-reasonable provisions for parking of cycle rickshaws and to ensure that pliers are not harassed;

-constitution of a Special Task Force (STF) to explore questions related to road traffic in Delhi, etc.

The plea also fueled monitoring of the Chandni Chowk Redevelopment Project, implementation of draft legislation for registration of cycle rickshaws an an interim measure, etc.

Significantly, the Bench will continue to hear its suo moto PIL(titled Court on its Own Motion v. Shahjahanabad Redevelopment Corporation), connected with the case, concerning Pedestrianization Project of Chandni Chowk area. In this context, Ralli informed the Bench that even though the project has been inaugurated, several aspects are yet to be fulfilled.

Accordingly, the Court has ordered Additional Standing Counsel Naushad Ahmed Khan to file a status report within 4 weeks.

The suo moto matter will now be taken up on March 3.

Case Title: Manushi Sangathan, Delhi v. GNCTD & Ors.

Case No.: WP (C) 4572/2007

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