Vacate Delhi office by Aug 10, AAP told | Latest News Delhi - Hindustan Times

Vacate Delhi office by Aug 10, AAP told

ByAbraham Thomas
Jun 11, 2024 12:36 PM IST

The Supreme Court was hearing an application filed by AAP seeking modification of the March 4 order requiring it to vacate the premises by June 15

The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) to vacate its Rouse Avenue office in the capital by August 10, clarifying that the earlier deadline of June 15 was being extended as a “last opportunity” for the political outfit to comply with its directive.

The AAP party office at DDU Marg . (Vipin Kumar/HT)
The AAP party office at DDU Marg . (Vipin Kumar/HT)

“As a last opportunity we extend the time granted by our order dated March 4 to vacate the premises till August 10 on an undertaking to be given by the applicant (AAP) within a week from today before the registry of this court that they shall hand over vacant and peaceful possession of the premises in question on or before August 10,” a vacation bench of justices Vikram Nath and Sandeep Mehta said.

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The court was hearing an application filed by AAP seeking modification of the March 4 order requiring it to vacate the premises by June 15 as the land had already been allocated to the Delhi high court in 2020 for expansion of the district judiciary.

Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for AAP, said the extension is being sought till August 10 as the high court had recently passed an order asking the Centre to process AAP’s request for alternate office space within six weeks.

“The premises in question is already allotted to the Delhi high court in the year 2020 and because of the continuance of the applicant’s possession, the expansion of the Delhi courts is not only stultified but also cost escalation (for building the project) is rising every year,” the bench noted.

Advocate K Parmeshwar, appearing for the Delhi high court, said the March 4 order was issued on their application and for four years, the high court has not been able to take possession of the land due to continued occupation of the premises at 206, Rouse Avenue by the AAP. “This tussle between the applicant and Centre will continue as they seek land in central area of the capital. We do not want it delayed for that reason. We are in dire straits having shortage of courtrooms. We are forced to rent spaces for judicial officers and courtrooms,” Parmeshwar said.

While the AAP insisted that by August 10, the Centre should take a decision on its application for alternate space, the vacation bench said it will not issue any direction in that regard.

“The need for this application arises in view of the judgment of the Delhi High Court of June 5 wherein the high court has given the Directorate of Estates, Union of India a period of 6 weeks within which to decide the present applicant’s application for a temporary housing unit for office purposes in central Delhi,” the AAP said in its application. “In these circumstances, if the applicant were to vacate the Rouse Avenue Bungalow on June 15, 2024 as directed by this court, it would be left without any officially allotted party office.”

The Delhi high court in its order of June 5 had noted that “non-availability” or “pressure” cannot be a ground for the Centre to reject the AAP’s request for allotment of a permanent plot of land. It, however, rejected the AAP’s request to temporarily allot the house belonging to its minister Imran Hussein at Deen Dayal Upadhyay Marg for use as its office.

“The respondents are directed to consider the request of the Petitioner within six weeks from today and take a decision by passing a detailed order as to why even one housing unit from the GPRA (general pool residential accommodation ) cannot be allotted to the Petitioner when all other political parties have been allotted similar accommodation from the GPRA,” justice Subramonium Prasad of the high court had said.

The AAP was granted recognition as a national party by the Election Commission of India on April 10, 2023, and has claimed entitlement under a circular of November 9, 2012, issued by Land and Development Office, which entitles a national political party having total strength of MPs up to 15 in both the houses of Parliament to be allotted 500 sq. m of land for construction of its office building.

Further, the Delhi state units of national political parties are entitled to an additional allotment of 500 sq. m of land, the application by AAP had said, adding that the party also fulfilled the eligibility condition laid down under the Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order, 1968, being a recognized state party in at least four states.

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