“Some sanctity should be attached to our orders,” the Supreme Court on Wednesday told.
Delhi Police chief KK Paul and Municipal Corporation of Delhi Commissioner Ashok K Nigam, who appeared before it in person to explain their “non-cooperation” in carrying out its orders to seal commercial premises not protected under the new Master Plan.
A three-judge bench headed by Justice Arijit Pasayat expressed anguish over the failure of the two agencies in implementing the court’s order. "We again register our anguish at the manner in which the order of this court was not carried out in letter and spirit giving impression that authorities did not intend to carry out sealing operation as per the court orders," it observed.
Interestingly, the affidavits of Police chief and the MCD Commissioner contained contradictory averments regarding availability/non-availability of police force on April 9 for the sealing operations in the capital.
While Paul said adequate police force was provided to the MCD to carry out sealing drive on April 9, the civic agency maintained that there was no sealing operation on that day as there was no information from the nodal officer of the Delhi Police regarding availability of the force.
"The two (averments of Paul and Nigam) are irreconcilable," it said terming as “unfortunate” the contradictory stands taken by them.
The Bench which on Tuesday sent former Delhi minister and BJP MLA H S Balli to three-month jail for contempt of court, however, let off the two top officials after Amicus Curiae Ranjit Kumar said that sealing resumed last evening itself following the court’s order.
"We never intended that these officers to be in the court. They have other works to do. You are forcing us to do so," the Bench said, adding "you act like that and then say courts are great risk to people.”
The court expressed the hope that its orders would be complied with in letter and spirit and sealing operation would be carried out without any grievance from any quarter.
Paul’s affidavit also said that sealing operations were carried out on April 9 against two properties in North Delhi and four schools in East Delhi as per Supreme Court order. Further, police assistance was also provided for demolition and removal of unauthorised constructions in certain other parts of the city as ordered by the Delhi High Court.
As MCD counsel Sanjiv Sen tried to defend the civic agency, the court said was not convinced. “The affidavit should be crystal clear,” it said.
Regarding police assistance to the Monitoring Committee between April 3 and 5, Paul said in his affidavit that adequate police force was not available for sealing drive for these three days as due to MCD elections.
He said elaborate security arrangements had to be made for the 14th SAARC summit, which was attended by the delegates not only from the member countries but also from China, Japan, South Korea, European Union and United States as observers.