Delhi High Court pulls up DDA over demolition despite stay order in South Delhi [11.2.2023]

The Delhi High Court on Friday pulled up the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) over demolition in South Delhi's Mehrauli despite a stay order till the next date of hearing.

The residents challenged the demolition order issued on December 12, 2022. The matter was listed for hearing on February 16.

Justice Manmeet Pritam Singh Arora expressed her displeasure with the standing counsel for DDA, saying, "We can't have a situation like contempt. You take the plot number and convey it to the authorities to stop the demolition."

Earlier in the day an order of status quo till February 16 was passed by the bench after hearing the petitioners.

Despite this fact, the demolition was not stopped. Thereafter the matter was mentioned before the bench which expressed its displeasure on the situation.

The court stayed the demolition till the next date of hearing.

The bench issued notice to the DDA and listed the matter for further hearing on February 16.

The notice of December 12, 2022, for demolition and communication of February 9, 2023, was challenged and sought to be quashed.

This matter pertains to the demolition drive in ward number 8, Mehrauli by the DDA. The notices were pasted on the identified properties and demolition was scheduled for Friday.

The action was challenged through five petitions filed in the matter. The matter pertains to different colonies falling under ward number 8.

Advocate Ankit Jain appeared on behalf of petitioner Ruchi and 16 other petitioners.

The petition has been moved against the Delhi government, DDA and the Archeological Survey of India (ASI).

It is stated that the properties of the petitioners are in the urbanised village Mehrauli, which falls within 'Lal Dora' land and has been duly registered with the Sub Divisional Magistrate's Office, Mehrauli since the year 2001.

The sum and substance of the said demolition order are that some Khasra numbers, falling in the village 'Ladha Sarai', have been encroached upon by unauthorised occupants, the petition stated.

It is also said that the said Notice to the properties falling in the village Ladha Sarai and the 'Mehrauli Archeological Park.

The notice granted the said 'occupants' to evict the area within 10 days.

It was argued that the properties of the Petitioners are falling in neither of the above. The petitioners' properties are self-owned and have been in existence for more than 25 years.

Another petition was moved by Raghu Rai pertaining to Khasra Number 1151/3 min in Mehrauli village. A stay was granted in this matter.

In her reply, the standing counsel for the DDA stated that she will file her written submissions on or before 13.02.2023.

She stated that she will place on record the demarcation plotting Khasra No. 1151/3 min and the location of the subject property.

Advocate Siddhant Kumar, the counsel for the petitioner, said the building is situated in Khasra No. 1151/3 min, in Mehrauli, which is not mentioned in the demolition order.

However, the demolition action is being proposed in this Khasra as well, which is contrary to the demolition order of December 12, 2022. The court directed that in view of the fact that Khasra No. 1151/3 min finds no mention in the demolition order of December 12, 2022, it is directed that the status quo be maintained with respect to the subject property, until the next date of hearing.

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

11 Feb 2023