SEAL OR FACE COURT CONTEMPT, SUPREME COURT WARNS CENTRE AND MCD

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THE Supreme Court has warned the Centre and MCD of contempt proceedings if they show any reluctance in implementing the court-mandated sealing drive of commercial constructions in nearly 1,500 unauthorised colonies of the Capital. A bench comprising Justice Arijit Pasayat and Justice D K Jain said, “You (the concerned authorities) will invite contempt. Anything which is unauthorised shall be sealed. Otherwise, you will face consequences”. The court expressed dismay on the Centre’s submission that the issue of regularisation of unauthorised colonies was lying before the Cabinet.

Additional solicitor-general Vikas Singh, appearing for the urban development ministry, said the matter was under the consideration of the Cabinet, and so the ongoing sealing drive should be halted. The court said if that was so why it was not done so far. The law officer also said the ongoing sealing drive would result in the hardship for over 40 lakh people dependent on the commercial establishments.

The MCD through its counsel supported the stand of the Centre. Both the ASG and the MCD counsel said the SC monitoring committee “had gone beyond the scope of the apex court’s order on sealing”.

But it failed to cut ice. The court reiterated its warning on the initiation of contempt proceedings against the concerned authorities in case they show any reluctance in implementing the order. The court, however, posted for next week the hearing on two fresh, but identical applications of the Union urban development ministry and the MCD seeking a stay on the sealing process until the Centre approves a proposal for regularising the unauthorised colonies.The bench then tagged the two fresh applications along with the main matter on sealing drive, which would come up for hearing next week.

On August 14, the SC-appointed monitoring committee had directed the civic agencies to commence sealing of all commercial structures in unauthorised colonies on August 20. Only shops measuring 20 metres and were engaged in 24 specified trade were exempted from the sealing drive.

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