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Land row delays injury centre

A dispute over the ownership of 65 acres of land in south Delhi threatens to delay Safdarjung Hospital's ambitious project to start a sports injury centre for the Commonwealth Games, reports B Sinha.

delhi Updated: Aug 25, 2008 23:11 IST
Bhadra Sinha

A dispute over the ownership of 65 acres of land in South Delhi threatens to delay Safdarjung Hospital's ambitious project to start a sports injury centre for the Commonwealth Games.

The land in question is located behind the hospital and opposite old Kamal Cinema hall.

The litigation, which started before the High Court eight years ago in 2000, has not even crossed the first leg of judicial proceedings.

The case has got entangled in technicalities, making the court to sit over Delhi Development Authority's (DDA) application, requesting vacation of a stay on any kind of activity on it.

The development authority, to whom the land was transferred by the then local government during the British era in 1937 when it was known as the Delhi Improvement Trust, has been struggling to convince the court to hear its application moved in 2002.

The DDA had transferred 10 acres of land to Safdarjung Hospital for the construction of an injury centre for sportspersons during the Games.

The litigation began when petitioner Ismaili Devi moved court along with other individuals requesting declaration of ownership rights in their favour. She and the other petitioners claim to be the owners of the land.

The development authority was immediately restrained from taking up any construction activity.

The DDA wants the court to remove the stay which restrains it from carrying out any construction activity on the large chunk of land. After years of persuasion, the court in April this year decided to hear the application on grounds of urgency.

In 2002, the case was transferred to Tis Hazari as the petitioners had valued the land for Rs 17 lakh, less than the pecuniary jurisdiction of the High Court, which was increased to Rs 20 lakh in the same year.

The case was later re-listed with the High Court after the petitioners increased the financial stakes. They filed a suit for damages claiming money from the DDA for prohibiting them from using their own land.