'Cannot Take Law in Your Hands': SC Slams AAP For Encroaching Land Allotted to Delhi HC

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By ETV Bharat English Team

Published : Feb 13, 2024, 6:59 PM IST

SC Irked by AAP Encroaching on Land Allotted to Delhi HC

The Supreme Court on Tuesday slammed Aam Aadmi Party-led Delhi government for encroaching upon a piece of land originally allotted to Delhi High Court. The apex court asked the government counsel to ensure the encroachment is removed. Reports Sumit Saxena.

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday expressed its anguish after learning that the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) office, located at Rouse Avenue in Delhi, was built over the land allotted to the Delhi High Court and sought a timeline for removal of encroachment on the next date of hearing.

The apex court said: “If it is an encroachment…You cannot take law in your own hands…," and stressed that political party is sitting tight on the encroachment and it has to come to an end, as the high court is going to use it for infrastructure for residents of Delhi to resolve their disputes.

A three-judge bench led by Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud and comprising Justices J B Pardiwala and Manoj Misra was informed by amicus curiae K Parameshwar that Delhi High Court officials were not allowed to take possession of the land when they tried to do so. Parameshwar said a political party’s office has been constructed there now.

The CJI asked the government counsel when they would remove the encroachment. “(Political) Party office, if it is an encroachment…You cannot take law in your own hands…”, said the CJI. The CJI, who appeared to be annoyed after learning about the encroachment, cautioned the counsel appearing for the AAP-led Delhi government that the land must be returned to the high court.

The bench was informed that Delhi Principal Secretary, Law, Bharat Parashar, is aware of the matter. “The political party has been allotted by way of a Cabinet resolution. But now we have taken up the matter with the Land and Development Office (L&DO) and L&DO is in the process of handing over that portion of the land. And, in the process of allotting another portion of the land to the political party. That was allotted by way of Cabinet resolution," said Parashar.

Parashar informed the bench that the date of the Cabinet resolution is 2016. The CJI asked what is the date of the allotment of the land to the high court? Parashar said it was allotted to the high court in 2020. “We made the payment to L&DO...The remaining portion of 2.42 acre, we have already taken possession of... which comprises a vacant portion, plus a road, and existing CPWD office...Block 1 will be constructed over there and Block 2 will be at the place where a political party (office) exists”, said Parashar.

The CJI asked the counsel to show some photographs of what is being constructed on the land. Parameshwar said: “We have videos. We went to take possession; we were not allowed to take possession”. Parashar said it was a bungalow which was earlier in possession of a minister, which is now occupied by the political party. “I do not want to politicize the matter….we could not take possession”, said Parameshwar.

The CJI asked the counsel for the government to find out when this possession would be given to the Delhi High Court. “What is this? We are not asking for judges’ bungalows. We are asking for public amenity. Political party sitting tight on that. Why did you allot to the high court then? Tell us when you are giving unencumbered possession to the high court. This has to come to an end. The high court is going to use it for residents of Delhi to come and resolve their disputes in the court complex”, said CJI.

After hearing submissions, the bench, in its order, said “During the course of the hearing, we were apprised of the unresolved issues pertaining to the projects of the Delhi High Court pertaining to the infrastructural requirement of the district judiciary. Despite the previous order of this court, those issues have not been resolved. The court is apprised of the fact that the office of a political party has encroached on a portion, which was allotted to the high court".

"We direct the chief secretary of GNCTD, the secretary in-charge of the public works department (PWD), and the finance secretary shall convene a meeting before the next hearing of this court together with the registrar general of the high court. So that all outstanding issues are settled without waiting for further directions of this court”, said the bench, while listing the matter for further hearing on Monday.

The CJI asked the counsel to inform the PWD secretary, chief secretary, and finance secretary to meet the high court registrar general and sort out all issues. The apex court added that on the next date of hearing specific timeline should be furnished before it for the removal of encroachment. The apex court was dealing with a case concerning judicial infrastructure across the country.

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