Business Standard

SC orders status quo over road widening in Greater Kailash traffic bottleneck

IANS  |  New Delhi 

The on Tuesday ordered status quo for eight weeks on a project to widen the road near intersection in Greater Kailash, south A few hundred-meter patch is a bottleneck, which is hanging fire for nearly a decade, and often leads to jam for hours, especially during peak hours.

A vacation bench comprising Justice and identified the project in public interest, but insisted that procedures in law cannot be overlooked.

The government initiated efforts in 2010 to acquire the land, which overlaps 469 square metre-land claimed and in possession of a firm. The government's objective was to decongest Outer Ring Road. Since then the matter has been beset with several litigations.

In 2010-11, the government wrote to the firm asking it to vacate the area in order to ease traffic movement on the contentious patch. Tata Communications moved the and got a stay, stating the land is in its rightful possession, as it was transferred to the firm legally after it had taken it over from (VSNL). It rejected government claim that the firm has encroached on the land.

The court noted that in public interest, the government cannot take away anybody's property and if it has to be done, there is a due process. "When you acquire, you issue a notification", observed the court.

The argued that the matter is limited to only widening of the road as per the master plan, and that the government has already cleared the and the Delhi Jal Board office on the patch of land for the same purpose.

The has sought proper compensation for the land, but the has dragged its feet, claiming that records do not show the land was ever in possession of VSNL.

The contested Delhi government's claim, stating it acquired erstwhile public sector unit VSNL management in 2000 along with its assets. It informed the court that the government is attempting to demolish the boundary wall of the property. The court observed that till the demarcation is done, there will be no demolition at all. "Till such time status quo should be maintained...and status quo will not stand in the way of demarcation of the land", said the court observing that the project is in overall public interest.

The zonal plan for road widening was approved in 2008.

In May, the Delhi had allowed the PWD to take control of the land, and permitted it to carry out joint inspection, and also indicated that if after demarcation, it is established that Tata Group owns the land in question, then the group is certainly entitled to compensation.

The court has listed the matter in the second week of July.

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First Published: Tue, June 11 2019. 21:42 IST