The Delhi High Court on Wednesday ordered the closure of a 'private zoo' belonging to Okhla MLA Asif Mohammed Khan after it found that the enclosure was built on five bighas of DDA land he had encroached at Jasola village in South Delhi.
A Bench of acting Chief Justice A K Sikri and Justice R S Endlaw asked the DDA to reclaim the land and ordered an inquiry by the Lokayukta. It said "it was a serious case of encroachment by a sitting MLA".
The court ordered surprise checks to ascertain if his collection violated provisions of the Wildlife Protection Act. The bench was hearing a petition filed by one Kamran Siddiqui, seeking action against Khan for "encroachment" and "criminal trespass".
The zoo was a collection of exotic birds and animals - emus mini doves, masakali pigeons, turkeys, imported poultry, doves, peacocks deers and horses. Also part of the collection are parrots, 60 pigeons and buffaloes.
The order came after Delhi Government standing counsel Najmi Waziri, who produced the area demarcation report on the court's direction, said "there was a clear encroachment" by the MLA.
Waziri said the zoo was located on three-and-a-half bighas of land Khan had encroached earlier. Waziri also said the MLA had encroached one and half bighas recently. Khan denied any encroachment and said the Wildlife Act permitted his collection of animals and birds.
Act fast against unauthorised constructions: High Court
The Delhi High Court on Wednesday slammed the MCD for the sudden sluggishness in demolition of unauthorised construction in the capital.
The Bench headed by acting chief justice A K Sikri was concerned over a flurry of PILs against unauthorised constructions. The court was worried over rising complaints of misuse of such PILs and its use for threats and extortion.
"If all the officers of the MCD did their work properly, nothing of this sort would have happened", said the Bench. The comment came on a day when it heard two PILs against unauthorised constructions in Gautam Nagar and Rajouri Garden.
Lawyer Jyoti Singh, appearing for a builder in Gautam Nagar against whom a such a "PIL" was filed, told the court that she had a sting VCD in which father of the petitioner was asking him to pay up R 25,000 for withdrawing the "PIL" and "settle" the matter. "Such extortionist PILs needs to be stopped", Singh said. Justice Sikri promptly asked her to submit the VCD to the court and promised a probe.