Saturday, December 2, 2023

Delhi High Court directs Archaeological Survey of India to remove encroachments around Tughlaqabad Fort

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The High Court of Delhi on Monday directed the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to take appropriate action for the removal of encroachments in and around the Tughlaqabad Fort.

The Division Bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad appointed Senior Advocate Dayan Krishnan as Amicus Curiae to assist the court on the issue.

The Counsel representing the ASI expressed ‘helplessness’ in removing the rampant and large-scale encroachments in and around the historic Fort for want of cooperation by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi and the state government.

The High Court, while noting that it cannot remain a ‘silent spectator’, especially when a detailed and exhaustive order has been passed by the Apex Court for the removal of encroachments, directed the SDM (South-East), the MCD as well as the Commissioner of Police to provide all logistic support to ASI for the removal of encroachments within four weeks.

The Counsel appearing for the MCD then assured the High Court that the department would provide full in the removal of encroachments.

The High Court warned that non-compliance of its order would lead to the Bench directing personal appearances of the Head of Departments, including the Director General of ASI, the MCD Commissioner, the Delhi Police Commissioner, as well as the SDM of the area concerned.

The High Court listed the matter for further hearing on May 26.

In February 2016, the Supreme Court had observed that the Tughlaqabad Fort was a protected monument, the protection of which was imperative of the ASI; and asked the Delhi High Court to monitor the issue.

Since various departments of the state were passing the burden on each other in the matter of removal of encroachments, the court, in 2017, constituted a committee comprising various Departments of the state to survey the area and take appropriate steps for the removal of encroachments.

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