Delhi illegal structures: No relief to lawyers, says SC
The Supreme Court refused to grant any relief to lawyers operating their offices in residential areas of Delhi.india Updated: Apr 13, 2006 16:11 IST
The Supreme Court on Thursday refused to grant any relief to lawyers operating their offices in residential areas of New Delhi.
A division bench of Chief Justice YK Sabharwal, Justice CK Thakker and Justice DK Jain took objection to the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) approaching it in the matter.
"How can the Bar Association approach us on behalf of all the lawyers?," the bench asked.
The court made it clear that the cases of lawyers, chartered accountants and doctors running offices in residential areas would be decided on a "case-to-case" basis.
The court said it could be understood if a lawyer was running his/her office in the basement or ground floor of his/her residence.
But there were cases where the whole of the building was being used as an office.
On behalf of SCBA, senior counsel Mukul Rohtagi submitted that lawyers' offices qualified as "professional activities", and were not covered under "commercial activities", which has been specifically banned by the apex court order.
Rohtagi said even the Delhi Master Plan permitted professional activities to run in residential areas to a certain extent.
He also said that in the year 2002, the government allowed guest-houses, nursing homes and some other services to be run from residential areas.
"Things change with change of times. We cannot shut our eyes from the ground realities. We have given extension of 60 days to those who file affidavits to shift their establishments," the court observed.
Pointing out that even the High Court was seized of the matters relating to lawyers, Rohtagi sought to know if the lawyers could approach the High Court or whether they ought to go to the Monitoring Committee appointed by the apex court.
When the court said, "it was upto lawyers to decide", Rohtagi submitted that he would be prepared with a reply on April 17.
Earlier, On February 16, the Supreme Court had directed sealing of commercial set-ups operating on 189 residential roads of 80 feet width in the first phase of the drive against misusers.