Law & Judiciary

    Delhi HC notice to Centre, ASI on PIL against illegal encroachment of heritage properties

    The Hawk
    September28/ 2023
    Last Updated:

    Delhi High Court

    New Delhi: The Delhi High Court has issued notice to the Ministry of Culture, Archeological Survey of India (ASI), National Monuments Authority and others on a Public interest litigation (PIL) moved against alleged encroachment and occupation of several properties by traders on declared as heritage properties at Vakilpura area of Chandni Chowk.
    The plea seeks direction to respondent authorities to evict the traders allegedly illegally encroaching, occupying the several properties situated at Chah Rahat, Vakilpura, Delhi which have been declared as heritage properties vide gazette notification and carrying out the illegal business of copper idols from the properties, for the larger public interest.

    According to the Petitioner Sanjay Kumar Vashist, local resident of the Chandni Chowk area, these said properties need to be protected in order to preserve the rich history of Delhi.

    According to the petitioner, time and again he requested the respondent's authorities to hold a survey of these properties. Only ASI held a survey of the subject property and gave the conclusion that the owners of the properties could not be traced. Very naturally the question arises in mind if the owners of the subject property could not be traced, who gave the subject properties to the current tenants who are literally changing the nature of the properties for the sake of business, the petitioner stated.
    Advocate Indira Goswami appeared for the petitioner and submitted that the Ministry of Urban Development, Government of India issued a gazette notification dated 29th July 2016, publication dated 3rd August 2016 thereby declaring the said properties situated at Chah Rahat, Vakilpura, Delhi as heritage property of category III in the form of haveli.
    The State is under a solemn constitutional obligation to protect and preserve the heritage of the country for the present as well as future generations. This obligation flows not only from various Articles but also from constitutional obligations, submitted Advocate Indira Goswami.
    The plea further alleged that several encroachers and illegal occupants in the form of traders have encroached upon the said properties and have installed shutters thus converting the said properties as go-downs and showrooms of copper idols and have been carrying out their businesses illegally with their hands in gloves with the local administration.
    The Division bench of Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Sanjeev Narula on September 27, 2023, issued notice to all respondents including Delhi Development Authority.