South Delhi's posh Shanti Sports Club many a famous Delhi sportspersons honed their skills will soon be swept into history.
The Supreme Court has ordered the demolition of the club—a nursery of budding cricketers—on the ground that it was illegally constructed on Delhi Development Authority (DDA) land without the building plan being sanctioned.
The club has a cricket ground, tennis stadium, badminton courts, swimming pool, table tennis room, squash court and cottages with modern facilities.
Several Pakistani and Australian diplomats too reside in rented houses in the Club complex.
A bench of Justice BN Agrawal and Justice GS Singhvi dismissed the club owner's appeal against the August 21, 2001 order of the Delhi High Court.
In the order, the HC had refused to interfere with the Centre's decision to exercise its discretion under Section 48(1) of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, to withdraw from the acquisition of the land in question.
The SC has given three months to the club owners to wind up—on condition they would file an affidavit undertaking to vacate the land by November 30, 2009, failing which DDA can take police help to take possession of the land.
The court made it clear that, "…during this period no encumbrances whatsoever will be created by the appellants for their agents and that no compensation will be claimed for the construction already made."
History of the club
The first notification of acquisition of the land was issued on January 23, 1965 and the owners were awarded compensation on December 22, 1980. One Amrit Lal Khanna, who purchased the said land (26 bighas) in village Masudpur, Tehsil Mehrauli on January 31, 1969, challenged the acquisition in 1980. But the HC dismissed it.
During the pendency of Khanna’s petition, Satish Khosla got registered a company “Shanti India Pvt Ltd” and a society named “Shanti Sports Club”. Between 1990-93, Khosla entered into an agreement with Khanna and other landowners and got possession of the land already acquired by the Government.
Thereafter, Khosla constructed Shanti Sports Club complex over the land without even making any application to the competent authority for sanction of the building plan.
“These appeals…are illustrative of how litigants use the court’s process for frustrating the acquisition of land for a public purpose for years together and ltigants seek equity after raising illegal construction over the acquired land.”