The Delhi Pradesh Citizen Council, which has challenged the controversial notifications giving protection to traders from sealing of their commercial establishments in residential areas, has vehemently opposed the Centre's plea for a virtual rollback of the court's sealing orders.
In its response to the applications of the Centre and the MCD, the NGO appealed to the court to dismiss their plea terming it as "unfortunate". The reply filed through counsel Jasbir Singh Malik, contended that the applications amounted to contempt of the court as the government was attempting to back out from the orders passed with its consent.
It contended that the Master Plan Delhi 2021 has totally ignored the interests of the residents of the city and even their constitutional rights have been overlooked.
Earlier, the Centre and the MCD had urged the court to modify its main sealing orders or at least stay the operation of the orders pending final adjudication of their plea, in view of the new Master Plan with liberal land use provisions expected to be notified by MID-February.
Besides, they had sought extension of the January 31 deadline till March 15 for filing of affidavits by the traders protected under the controversial September seven and 15 notifications that they would stop misuse of their residential premises in case the notifications were held illegal.
On filing of such affidavits the traders could continue with their commercial activities in residential areas till the final disposal of the case.
However, the court on Thursday last turned down the plea to extend the deadline and warned the Centre against politicising the sealing issue. "It is surprising that the government is moving the court, while it is the traders who have to file affidavits. Don't carry political battle to the court," it had observed.
With the court refusing to extend the deadline for filing of affidavits by the traders, their commercial establishments in residential areas are under imminent threat of being sealed by the MCD. It could resume on February one, a day before the court is schedule to hear the case.
Interestingly, most of the estimated four lakh traders who benefited from the court's orders have not filed any undertakings fearing it could disentitle them to take the advantage of Master Plan 2021 that was likely to regularise their commercial establishments in residential areas.
The NGO contended that the two impugned notifications dated September 7 and 15, 2006 that permitted commercial use of residential premises along 2183 roads in Delhi aimed to "upset and nullify" the court's orders.
The new Master Plan approved by the government allows liberal land use in all colonies except A and B categories and regularises 1,432 unauthorised colonies in the capital.
The Centre has emphasised that MPD-2021 "is the policy document giving road map for future planning taking due care of public interest such as parking, impact of services like water and electricity and impact on environment."