FOLLOWING Delhi High Court directive, the North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) sought police force to demolish the illegal structure built by some miscreants at Subhas Park. The NDMC wrote to the DCP Central District seeking the force on July 30 itself soon after receiving the directives of the High Court. After taking possession of the entire land, the MCD had sealed the entire area on July 21 and successfully foiled all bids by miscreants to offer namaz there. But it did not get the force till the time of going to press.
Taking tough stand on the issue, the High Court on July 30 termed the construction of the structure as “trespassing” and directed the MCD to demolish it. In an interim order, a full bench headed by Acting Chief Justice Shri AK Sikri and comprising of Justice Shri Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice Shri Rajiv Shakdher asked the ASI to implement its July 19 notice in which it urged the NDMC to remove the unauthorised construction from the site within 15 days. “The stand of the ASI (to remove the illegal structure) is unequivocally reflected in its notice dated July 19, 2012 with which NDMC is in agreement. The two concerned authorities with the assistance of police should implement the statutory mandate without fail,” the bench said asking the ASI to submit its status report by October 11.
Issuing a number of directions, the Court ordered the police to take action against the “miscreants” who damaged public property despite its restraint order on July 20. “The police authorities will also make all endeavour to bring to book the miscreants who caused damage to public and private property, injured persons and attempted to create a communal incident at the site after our order of July 20,” the Court said with special instruction to Delhi Police to ensure communal harmony and peaceful environment through constant vigil.
The Court snubbed the local MLA Shoaib Iqbal for his role in the ‘controversy’ when the area did not even fall within his constituency. Coming down heavily on Iqbal, the Court said, “At least, an elected member of the Assembly, who belongs to the ruling Government and, thus is a part of the State should not have restored to illegal construction. It may not advance the cause of one religion to the detriment of another.” “…we must note here with regret the endeavours of a few miscreants who by their hostile action tend to create a surcharged atmosphere and damage public and private property. It is high time that such a group is made accountable both in civil and criminal law for their misconceived actions.”
The Court rejected the pleas of both the parties to allow namaz and puja to be offered at the site. “It is in the interest of peace and harmony that prayers are not allowed to be offered by any of the stakeholders. No congregation of any kind would be permitted at the site, which includes the completely cordoned off area,” the Court.
The bench also pulled up the civic agencies—ASI, NDMC and DMRC—for unnecessarily delaying the matter to be brought to the Court’s notice saying “the records produced show that various authorities passed on the buck to each other. The ASI did not step in despite the request. Not only that as a sequitur to the discovery of these articles, even some local persons started raising construction, without obtaining any permission, on the land, which undisputedly belongs to the MCD. This construction apparently continued unabated despite intervention at the highest level as a meeting is stated to have been called by the Chief Minister of Delhi, which was attended by the Commissioner of Police, Director General of ASI and the Officers/Officials from the Ministry of Urban Development.”
Without mentioning the name of Delhi Government, which allegedly supported the miscreants to build the illegal structure, the Court said, “The State has to be neutral in all cases. It cannot be biased or inclined towards any sect on such a scenario. The State is bound to honor and to hold the scales even between all religions.
The Bench directed the ASI to expeditiously carry out investigation work in a time-bound manner and also instructed to carry out its work in the adjoining area to ascertain the claims of a temple being there in the Mahabharata era. The Court, in its order concluded, “We end with a fervent hope that better sense will prevail over one and all, who will let the ASI perform its task and not to seek to draw their own conclusions or give unnecessary communal overtone to the issue or take law into their hands, especially when this Court will be monitoring all aspects or the issues involved therein.”