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Mehrauli: Delhi High Court orders status quo, issues notice to DDA for carrying out demolition drive despite court order

The High Court of Delhi has reprimanded the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) for going ahead with its scheduled demolition drive in Mehrauli area of South Delhi, despite a stay order on the same.

The Single-Judge Bench of Justice Manmeet Pritam Singh Arora, while issuing notice to DDA on Friday, directed it to stop demolition in the area till the matter was heard on February 16.

The Bench issued directions on a bunch of petitions challenging the December 12, 2022 order of DDA and the notices pasted yesterday by the Authority on properties identified for demolition in ward number 8 of Mehrauli.

The petitioners demanded quashing of both the DDA’s last year order and its notices on the grounds that the Authority went ahead with demolition on Friday, despite the High Court stay on the same. 

The matter was then mentioned before the High Court, which expressed its displeasure over the situation.

The petitions were filed against the Delhi government, DDA and the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), contending that the properties of the petitioners were in urbanised village Mehrauli, which fell within the ‘Lal Dora’ land and were duly registered with the Sub Divisional Magistrate’s Office, Mehrauli in 2001.

As per the petitioners, DDA had alleged that some Khasra numbers falling in village Ladha Sarai had been encroached upon by unauthorised occupants.

They said a notice had been issued over the properties falling in village Ladha Sarai and the Mehrauli Archeological Park, directing the occupants to evict the area within 10 days.

Advocate Ankit Jain appeared on behalf of Ruchi and 16 other petitioners. He contended that the properties of these petitioners fell in neither of the above areas, were self-owned and had remained in existence for more than 25 years.

Another petition was moved by Raghu Rai through Advocates Sidhant Kumar and Shivankar Rao pertaining to Khasra Number 1151/3 min in Mehrauli village.

Appearing for the petitioner, Advocate Siddhant Kumar had contended that the building situated in Khasra No. 1151/3 min in Mehrauli was not mentioned in the demolition order. However, the demolition action was being proposed in this Khasra as well, which was contrary to the demolition order of December 12, 2022. 

The Bench directed that in view of the fact that Khasra No. 1151/3 min did not find any mention in the demolition order of December 12 last year, it was directed that the status quo be maintained with respect to the subject property, until the next date of hearing.  

Advocate Shobhna Takkiar, Standing Counsel for the respondents, contended that she would file her written submissions on or before February 13. She stated that she would place on record the demarcation plotting Khasra No. 1151/3 min and the location of the subject property.

The Bench granted her time and listed the matter for further hearing on February 16.

Another petition was filed by Advocate Anupradha Shri on behalf of the residents of Ghosia colony slum. In this slum, around 700 structures were to be demolished. A stay was granted in this matter as well.

Advocates Rachita Garg, Yash Singh, Devika Mohan and Kuljeet Singh appeared for the respondents. 

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