The Supreme Court today gave a stern warning to those obstructing the ongoing sealing drive in Delhi and said that any interference in the functioning of court-mandated Monitoring Committee would amount to contempt.
Observing that "rule of law must be enforced", the court took a strong note of the committee's report, which said that during the sealing process, BJP MLA Om Prakash Sharma and municipal councillor Gunjan Gupta, along with others, had prevented officials from doing their duties.
A bench of justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta issued show cause notice to Sharma and Gupta, asking them to explain why contempt of court proceedings be not initiated against them. It also asked both of them to remain personally present before the court on March 6.
The committee, in its status report on inspection carried out on February 5, said that this incident had happened when sealing process of premises where commercial activities were being carried out in violation of the Delhi Master Plan 2021 and Building Byelaws, was being carried out.
The report said that there was a gathering of people at the instance of the MLA and councillor and they prevented the officials from performing their duties.
"Since Om Prakash Sharma (MLA) and municipal councillor Gunjan Gupta are accused of preventing authorities from carrying out their statutory duties, they are liable for action under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) as well as under the Contempt of Courts Act," the bench noted in its order.
It observed that as far as the offences under the IPC were concerned, the Delhi Police would take necessary action "without fear and favour and without being influenced" in any manner.
"Since the Monitoring Committee is functioning under the directions of this court, any interference in its functions will amount to contempt of court. Consequently, for the interference caused by Om Prakash Sharma (MLA) and municipal councillor Gunjan Gupta, we issue a notice to them to show cause why contempt of court proceedings be not initiated against them," the court said.
The top court also directed the Delhi Police commissioner to ensure that all protection was given to the members of the committee "so that they are in a position to carry out their duties even if the statutory authorities do not deem it appropriate to carry out their duty in accordance with law".
During the hearing, an advocate, assisting the court as an amicus curiae, told the bench that obstructing the committee's work amounted to interference in administration of justice.
"The Monitoring Committee cannot work like this. It is just implementing the orders of this court," he said.
The apex court had earlier ordered restoration of its 2006 monitoring panel to identify and seal offending premises here.
The committee, comprising K J Rao, former advisor to the Election Commission, Bhure Lal, chairman, Environment Pollution Control Authority, and Major General (Retd) Som Jhingan, was set up on March 24, 2006, by the apex court.
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