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The Delhi High Court today asked the historic Delhi Public Library (DPL) to preserve its books which are locked since November last year.
A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar observed that since the DPL is locked and its members have been prohibited from entering the premises, the books and other valuables lying there might get damaged.
It directed the authorities to remove the books, CDs, computers, catalogs and other important material lying in the library to be shifted to the head office or any other safe location.
The court passed the order after it was informed that the books may get damaged as the building has been locked since November 15 last year.
The first Delhi Public Library (DPL) was started by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru across the old Delhi railway station way back in 1951.
The bench refrained from passing any order on the DPL Board's application seeking direction to repair the holes in ceiling of the library so that it can be used partially.
The bench said it will deal with this aspect on January 16 next year.
The court on December 4 last year had extended till March 20 its order restraining North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) from demolishing the building.
"The parties shall ensure that order dated November 15, 2016 shall strictly be complied with and nobody shall be allowed to use the premises," the bench had then said.
The court was hearing a petition filed by some scholars and journalists, who had moved against the corporation's two notices to the DPL to vacate the premises, claiming that the building was structurally unfit and dangerous.
The court had directed the authorities to lock the library while ensuring that nobody's life was put in danger.
It had on November 15, 2016 stopped the NDMC from taking any further step, saying the library branch at Karol Bagh here "shall be kept closed and nobody shall be permitted to enter the premises till further orders".
The library was issued the first notice by the NDMC on September 15, 2016 and the next one on November 4, asking the library to vacate so that the building could be demolished.
Seeking quashing of the notices, the petitioners alleged that the owner of the premises, Dimple Enterprises, "wants a commercial complex to come up in place of this library in order to make money from this land".
Funded by the Ministry of Culture, the DPL board is an autonomous body which has around 45 branches and mobile libraries across Delhi. It consists of officers from both central and Delhi governments, intellectuals, Members of the Legislative Assembly and councillors.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)