In a crucial meeting of the Group of Ministers (GoM), ahead of the sealing drive in New Delhi from November 1, it was decided that the Ministry of Urban Development (UDM) would file a review petition in the Supreme Court on Monday.
The GoM felt that this was the only option left to save more than 40,000 traders who had filed affidavits before the apex court and face imminent sealing.
The GoM, headed by Home Minister Shivraj Patil and comprising Urban Development Minister Jaipal Reddy, his deputy Ajay Maken and Delhi CM Sheila Dikshit decided that it would file a review petition and apprise the court of the practical difficulties of the traders. Both the UDM and MCD would jointly move the court.
Dikshit said, "We would ask amnesty for all those traders who are facing sealing upto January 31 at par with those traders who did not file the affidavits."
Earlier, the MCD had approached the court appointed Monitoring Committee and explained that it was not possible for it to start sealing from November 1.
Reddy hinted after the GoM that the Monitoring Committee was empowered to take decision as the court wanted sealing in a phased manner and not in a haphazard way.
Reddy said, "A large number of traders have got relief from the September 7 and 15 notifications. Traders left out would also get relief soon."
In the meeting it was also decided that the UDM would come out with the Master Plan-2021 by January next year to provide further relief. But what relief would the traders get from the Master Plan was not specified.
The UDM might notify more streets as commercial or of mixed land use in addition to 2183 already done after informing the apex court.
In the course of the GoM meeting, it was informed that of the 40,000 odd traders, around 9000 are on shops measuring less than 20 square metre and would be spared sealing. Another 25,000 are on roads notified as mixed or commercial.
The review petition would point this out to the court to get relief. This means that only 6000 traders would face sealing. But the relief for the 34,000 traders would come only after the court's assent.
There was a flurry of activity before the GoM. While the traders met Congress president Sonia Gandhi, two separate delegations of Delhi MPs and the DPCC met Patil to stop sealing drive.
All the delegations wanted sealing to be stopped till the new Master Plan is promulgated, putting the Delhi Laws (Special Provisions) Act in Schedule 9 to be kept out of the court's purview.
All eyes would now be on the Supreme Court and the Monitoring Committee on whether sealing commences from November 1 or not.
As the GoM could not have taken a decision either way, it has tossed the ball back to the legal channels hoping that something might materialise before Wednesday.
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