Traders from Sujan Singh Park have alleged discrimination by authorities, who sealed their establishments but left untouched a luxury hotel in the same area despite identical condition applicable for both.
The New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) on the guidelines of the Supreme Court’s monitoring committee (for misuse of premises) sealed 67 shops in Sujan Singh Park, near Khan Market in January 2011.
It has directly affected livelihood of more than 600 people. These shops are being run from the premises since the early 1940s when it was leased to a private company Sir Shobha Singh & Sons.
Said OP Vasan, president of the Sujan Singh Park Traders’ Association, “Neither did the NDMC give us any notice prior to sealing nor have we received any written communication as to why our premises are sealed. At the same time, they have not touched the hotel with same status applicable.”
The land in use is residential, applicable to the entire Sujan Singh Park, including for the hotel. On behalf of the traders, Rajan Sarna and Vivek Kapoor filed multiple RTIs with the NDMC and the Land & Development Office (L&DO). The NDMC reply said the hotel was not sealed as the general manager produced a copy of a court order and a judgement pertaining to the property.
The L&DO documents confirm that section 5.1 of the Master Plan 2021 permits continuation of commercial activity existing prior to 1962 in residential area, subject to documentary proof, as applicable in this case.
“We have recommended temporary de-sealing of specific units on requests,” said Anand Tiwari, spokesperson, NDMC.
However, more than three months after the sealing, no orders have been passed. Sources in the monitoring committee said they agreed that the hotel and these 67 premises shared identical status about land use.
“But these shops are sublet by the original lessee in contravention of agreements. Also, the pre-1962 benefit cannot be given to them on account of unauthorised construction,” sources from the committee said, adding, “Nevertheless; we are awaiting original lease deed from the L&DO, after which we will report the matter to the Supreme Court.”