Farmhouses can’t operate as banquet halls: Delhi High Court
The Delhi High Court on Monday said farmhouses in the national capital cannot operate as banquet halls hosting weddings and other functions.
Justice Vibhu Bakhru, while rejecting the plea of a farmhouse owner, said Master Plan of Delhi(MPD)- 2021 does not permit the farmhouses to function as banquet halls. The high court said banquet halls are permissible in industrial and commercial areas according to the (Permission of Banquet Hall), Regulations, 2010.
“….(the Permission of Banquet Hall), Regulations, 2010 indicate that a banquet hall is permissible in industrial and commercial areas, including modified commercial streets under mixed-use Regulation...It does not appear from the said Regulation that a banquet hall is permitted to be operated from a farm house,” the court said.
The ruling came as the high court heard a plea by Manaktala Farms, through its owner, which challenged an order of the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC). On July 1, DPCC had directed the closure of the farmhouse after it was found that the petitioner was using the farmhouse as a banquet hall hosting various kinds of events and functions.
The plea had claimed said there was no illegality in running a banquet hall since the petitioner has obtained the necessary permissions from South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC).
However, the court said the petitioner did not point out any provision in MPD-2021, which permits farmhouses to be used for commercial purposes.
Appearing for the petitioner advocates Gagan Gandhi and Heena Mongia had contended that the farmhouse has the Consent to Establish and had applied for the Consent to Operate on July 2, 2018. They submitted that since his client did not receive any response from the DPCC, the same was to be treated as a deemed consent under the (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974.
The court, however, rejected the contention of the petitioner that he had the right to continue operating on the basis of deemed “Consent to Operate” as DPCC had not responded.
The single-judge bench said that the DPCC had conducted an inspection and thereafter found certain deficiencies and hence the question of deemed consent subsisting does not arise. It said that the petitioner has to apply afresh for the “Consent to operate” which has been done only on July 19.
“In view of the above, this Court finds no reason to interfere with the impugned order. It is however directed that the petitioner’s application for Consent to Operate shall be processed in accordance with the law and if he is granted such consent, the impugned order would stand vacated,” the court said.
The DPCC’s inspecting team had also observed dry-sludge in the premises and the Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) at the farmhouse was also found to be non-operational.
Countering the allegations of a non-operational STP, the counsels had said the STP was found operational but was not in use. They submitted that the said STP was used only as and when needed, that is, as and when functions were held in the premises.