The construction of a multi-level underground parking facility on the Gurdwara Rakab Ganj premises has been stopped following a Delhi High Court directive. The gurdwara, a heritage structure, is a stone's throw from Parliament.
Following a status report from the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC), Justice Vipin Sanghi directed the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee to stop the unauthorised construction. Justice Sanghi was hearing a public interest litigation filed by the Sikh Forum for Service and Justice.
The gurdwara, on Pandit Pant Marg, is metres away from both Parliament and the President's Estate and figures in the notified list of heritage structures.
The NDMC had rejected the proposal for redevelopment of the premises, including a three-level underground parking facility.
The civic body mentioned as many as 23 reasons for rejecting the plan for the facility, including a lack of security clearance from Delhi police and the Ministry of Home Affairs.
Along with the status report, the NDMC also submitted copies of its letters to the committee citing reasons for rejecting its proposal. The NDMC also mentioned that it had asked for the unauthorised construction to be stopped.
Describing the gurdwara management committee's move as "deplorable", Justice Sanghi had on March 22 directed it to stop construction and asked the NDMC, Delhi Development Corporation and the Delhi government to "strictly enforce compliance of the order".
The court warned that the "breach of the order shall be viewed seriously". It, however, said the committee could go ahead with construction when it was given all clearances.
A senior NDMC official said, "The work has stopped. We are monitoring (it) on a daily basis." In compliance with the court order, architects and engineers from the gurdwara management committee have scaled down the parking lot capacity from 3,000-odd to about 400 vehicles and are working with NDMC officials, he said.