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Kalkaji Temple Redevelopment: Delhi High Court To Direct Final Vacation Of Dharamshala Premises By All Occupants On June 1

Nupur Thapliyal
26 May 2022 6:00 AM GMT
Kalkaji Temple Redevelopment: Delhi High Court To Direct Final Vacation Of Dharamshala Premises By All Occupants On June 1
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Observing that redevelopment of city's Kalkaji Temple can commence only if all persons who are in occupation of dharamshalas vacate the said premises, the Delhi High Court has said that it will direct final vacation of the same by all occupants on June 1.

Justice Pratibha M Singh, who was dealing with a bunch of pleas concerning the aspect of maintenance and redevelopment of the temple, added that the pujaris or baridaars who are occupying the dharamshalas shall make submissions before the Court concerning the timelines of such vacation on the said date.

"The pujaris/baridaars shall submit their suggestions with regard to the redevelopment, to the ld. Administrator within 15 days of obtaining the layout plan. Pursuant to the same, such parties shall appear before the ld. Administrator on 4th June, 2022 at 5 P.M., by which time all the suggestions of the pujaris/baridaars shall be submitted. On the said date, the ld. Administrator would consider the suggestions given with respect to the redevelopment of the Kalkaji Mandir," the Court added.

The Court also directed that the Administrator shall also have interactions with the pujaris or baridaars and shall submit a report to the Court by 4 July, 2022.

"Additionally, going forward, after 4th July, 2022, in order to assuage the concerns of the pujaris/baridaars, etc., the ld. Administrator shall meet with them at least once every fortnight, so that in the general functioning of the Kalkaji Mandir as also the redevelopment, the pujaris and baridaars can submit their suggestions to the ld. Administrator, which can be duly considered," the Court said.

Earlier, the Bench had directed the Delhi Police to proceed with the eviction of unauthorized occupants of jhuggis and dharamshalas present in the temple premises.

Importantly, the Supreme Court recently refused to interfere in the plea challenging the eviction of the said unauthorized occupants of Jhuggis and Dharamshalas. However, it granted petitioner the liberty to approach the Administrator appointed by the High Court for redressal of grievances.

Previously, the Court had observed that wherein a land is being used for public purposes, if occupants of jhuggis or slums are evicted, it is the State's objective to provide them alternative accommodation after conduct of requisite surveys and collection of data.

While the Court had earlier clarified that none of the occupants who are in illegal occupation of the temple premises can remain in possession, it noted that there were some jhuggi dwellers and Dharamshala occupants who had not vacated the said premises.

Accordingly, the Court had directed the Delhi Development Authority, DUSIB and South Delhi Municipal Corporation to jointly undertake a survey of the temple premises and make a list of the number of occupants and the number of families who are still dwelling in the jhuggis as also in the Dharamshalas.

The Court had earlier directed the authorities including South Delhi Municipal Corporation, Delhi Development Authority and Delhi Police to ensure that it's orders are implemented in order to remove all illegal encroachers within the Kalkaji Temple premises, as per the deadlines given.

Previously, the Court had slew of directions regarding the administration and maintenance of the temple as also for resolution of disputes pertaining to the bari rights between baridaars to ensure smooth functioning of the temple.

It had expressed concerns over the "dismal" maintenance of the temple and had also asked the local commissioner to ascertain the collections/donations made to the Temple and check whether CCTV cameras installed inside its premises are operational.

It was reiterated that the reports submitted by previous Receivers and local commissioner showed that the cleanliness and maintenance of the temple complex was not satisfactory.

The Court had sought a report on the the creation of shops as well as the basic civic amenities available for devotees inside the temple premises. It directed the Court appointed architect to submit a comprehensive report after a meeting with administrator.

It had appointed a local commissioner for paying surprise visits in the Temple in respect of ascertaining conduct of 'puja sewa', collection of offerings being put in donation boxes and also other issues regarding cleanliness, hygiene and facilities for devotees.

Case Title: NEETA BHARDWAJ & ORS. v. KAMLESH SHARMA

Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Del) 495

Click Here To Read Order


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