The Division Bench hearing cases of demolition in the Capital on Tuesday once again emerged divided - the second time in the last five months.
On October 12, 2007, the Bench of Justices AK Sikri and Rekha Sharma gave divergent judgments on whether the high court could stay a sealing order given by the Supreme Court-appointed monitoring committee pertaining to some shops in Ashram and Bhogal area. On Tuesday, it was on the question of de-sealing 80 industrial properties on Rama Road near Karol Bagh in West Delhi.
The matter would now be referred to the Chief Justice to appoint a third judge to hear the matter.
The Municipal Corporation of Delhi sealed the properties in 2006 as these were built on plots illegally carved out of bigger plots. The structures on these illegal plots have allegedly been built without seeking a sanction from the civic agency.
Justice Sikri held that “these properties could be de-sealed subject to fulfillment of certain conditions” like assurance of no third party rights or further constructions or transfer”. He said the owners would have to give an assurance that they would abide by the DDA guidelines and the Supreme Court on Master Plan 2021.
But Justice Sharma concluded that: “Master Plan 2021 does protect the act of sub-division of plots, it affords no protection to the constructions raised on the sub-divided plots without or in violation of sanctioned plans. Therefore, no case for de-sealing of such buildings is made out.”
The provision regarding industrial areas in the Delhi Master Plan 2021, which was notified on February 7, was also widely debated in the court.
While the petitioners claimed that the Master Plan talked about the regularisation of 50 such industrial units in Delhi, court commissioner for Karol Bagh Pushkar Sood and the MCD said the plan talked about redevelopment and not regularisation.
The high court had, in fact, on February 15 last year tried to streamline the process of regularisation of the units by asking them to apply to the MCD.
But the corporation submitted that there was no way they could be legalised as the units did not fulfill the criteria for regularisation as they did not have proper sewerage system, water supply, approach roads and the sub-plotting too was done in a haphazard manner.
But the court was forced to intervene when it found that the MCD was following a dual policy in the area. While the MCD had ordered sealing of many units and rejected their pleas for regularisation, it had entertained the petitions of many owners and made their properties legal.