Thursday, April 25, 2024

Supreme Court directs AAP to vacate its premises on land meant for Delhi Judiciary by June 15

The Supreme Court on Monday ordered the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) to vacate its premises at New Delhi, which is earmarked for the Delhi High Court, by 15 June 2024, so that land allotted to expand the district judiciary footprint can be used for the purpose.

The High Court observed that in view of the impending elections, it granted time till 15 June 2024 to vacate the premises so that the land which has been allotted for the purpose of expanding the footprint of the district judiciary can be duly utilized on an expeditious basis.

The Supreme Court also granted liberty to the AAP to apply to the Land and Development Office (L&DO) of the Indian Government for allotment of an alternate land. It further asked the L&DO to consider the application in accordance with law and communicate its decision to the AAP within a period of four weeks.

The court also recorded in its order that the Delhi High Court is in urgent need of the allotment of premises for housing the new recruits, for which courtrooms are not available. As the MTNL building, which was earlier proposed, has been found to be unsuitable, the Court ordered the Chief Secretary of the Delhi Government to come up with an alternate proposal within a period of two weeks and communicate it to the Chief Justice of the High Court.

A bench of Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, Justice JB Pardiwala and Justice Manoj Misra passed the verdict. The apex court on February 13 had taken note of a statement made by Advocate K Parameshwar, the amicus curiae in the matter relating to judicial infrastructure that the plot earmarked for the Delhi Judiciary is under the occupation of a political party, which has built its party office there. 

Taking a serious cognizance of the matter, the Court stated that a specific timeline should be given to it for the removal of the encroachment.

During the hearing today, Senior Advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for the AAP, contended that it is entitled to the land in Delhi in accordance with its status as a national party. He further submitted that the alternate land which was proposed to be allotted to it was situated in Badarpur, at the outskirts of the city. Claiming that there were political mala fides behind the decision of the L&DO, Singhvi stated that a particular government does not want AAP to be flourishing and working.

Meanwhile, Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta submitted that the land allotment to the AAP was revoked in June 2017 and at least since 2017, it is an encroacher. Amicus Parameshwar told the bench that by communication dated 13.06.2017, the Public Works Department of the Delhi Government informed the National Secretary of the AAP that the allotment of Bungalow no.206 at Rouse Avenue stood revoked as per the directions of the LG. Singhvi countered that the High Court set aside this communication.

Subsequently, the Court noted that the Delhi High Court, set aside the order revoking the allotment to the AAP and remanded the matter to the LG for fresh consideration. Following the direction of the Delhi High Court, a fresh order was passed by the LG reiterating the revocation.

During the hearing, the CJI told Senior Advocate Singhvi that the party has no lawful right to be in occupation after 2017 which cannot be denied.


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