9 May 2022 10:39 AM GMT
Filing a counter affidavit in the plea moved by a juice shop owner from Delhi's Jahangirpuri area claiming that his shop was unauthorizedly demolished by the New Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) on April 20, 2022, the corporation has submitted before the Supreme Court that his plea should not be entertained.Defending its move to demolish 'first floor of the shop', the NDMC has told the...
Filing a counter affidavit in the plea moved by a juice shop owner from Delhi's Jahangirpuri area claiming that his shop was unauthorizedly demolished by the New Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) on April 20, 2022, the corporation has submitted before the Supreme Court that his plea should not be entertained.
Defending its move to demolish 'first floor of the shop', the NDMC has told the Apex Court that the shop didn't have a valid permit and before razing the shop, a show-cause notice was issued to the owner/occupier on March 31, 2022, to submit valid documents of the shop but they failed to submit any reply.
"(During the demolition drive) the illegal stairs, ramps, extensions of shops and protrusions and projections were also removed, for which no notice is required to be served under the DMC Act as mentioned above. Some of the shops and houses had been extended through temporary structures upto 8-10 feet on the public land. In addition, only the first floor of the Juice shop, which did not have any valid permission, was made unusable by the Corporation," the affidavit filed by NDMC, through North DMC, Commissioner, states.
It may be noted that moving to the Supreme Court, Ganesh Gupta, the Petitioner, has claimed that the shop in question was allotted to him by DDA in the year 1977-78 and since that period he has been regularly paying the necessary fees and taxes. On the day of demolition, he tried to show all the required documents but no heed was paid to his requests and his shop was damaged.
Gupta seeks to restrain NDMC and its officials from undertaking any demolition action, stated to be contrary to law and actuated by malice or ill will towards a particular community. He also seeks compensation for his loss. The plea has been filed through Advocate Anas Tanwir.
It may be noted that the NDMC had initiated a two-day anti-encroachment drive in Jahangirpuri, soon after violent clashes broke out in the area between two communities on Hanuman Jayanti.
However, a bench led by the Chief Justice of India on April 20 had passed a status-quo order on the demolitions after an urgent mention was made by Senior Advocate Dushyant Dave in a petition filed by Islamic scholars organization Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind.
Juice owner Ganesh's plea
It has been alleged in the plea that the NDMC's demolition drive is "communally motivated" inasmuch as the corporation is currently seized of over 3,000 pending cases of encroachment and yet, has selectively chosen to conduct its demolition exercise in Jahangirpuri "in undue haste, giving a complete go by to mandatory statutory provisions, days after communal violence flared".
The plea claims that the demolition drive was completely contrary to the provisions of law, Sections 343, 347B and 368 of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi Act, 1957.
Notably, both the proviso to Section 343, and Section 368 of the Act provide that an opportunity be provided to the affected person to show cause as to why a demolition order should not be made.
The plea alleges that completely contrary to the said provisions of the Act, the NDMC did not even issue a show-cause notice to the affected residents before commencing its demolition exercise dated 20.04.2022.
Additionally, it is alleged that during the demolition drive the NDMC also removed the stalls of certain street vendors in contravention of the Street Vendor (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act, 2014, which affords street vendors protection from eviction and relocation.
It adds, "even if the structures in question were unauthorized, the NDMC's demolition drive dated 20.04.2022 was illegal in light of the provisions of the Delhi Special Provisions Amendment Act, 2020, under which protection from demolition has been accorded to unauthorized structures built before 2014 until 31st December 2023."