Concerned over rampant illegal construction and encroachment in and around central Delhi's Amir Khusro Park, the Delhi High Court today asked DDA to take "appropriate measures" ensuring no further "unauthorised construction and land-grabbing in any form is repeated" in that area.
A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath said that it has passed a specific direction in October last year in this regard, so Delhi Development Authority (DDA) should conduct a survey and find out who are the encroachers.
The Court's observation were made on Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain's submission, appearing for DDA, that there can be a law and order problem at the time of removal of the encroachers.
He said that there are many families residing in the area, so the agency cannot just run a bulldozer.
DDA's counsel further submitted that the land-owning agency is putting a wall around the area and deploying guards to keep a check on unauthorised encroachment.
The court said that it cannot go like this and it will have to hear the issue and pass the order.
It asked DDA to file an affidavit with regard to its earlier order.
To ensure its directions are seriously complied with, the Court had on February 24 sought the presence of the Chief Engineer, DDA, and the Deputy Commissioner of Police, concerned to report enforcement of its orders.
The Court acted on a PIL filed by Savyasachi Sahai seeking its directions to authorities to remove encroachers inside and around the 12.8-acre Amir Khusro Park which is bordered by Lala Lajpat Rai Marg and Lodhi Road here.
The area there witnesses regular traffic snarls due to the encroachments, the petitioner has said.
The high court bench had decided to intervene after
status reports by DDA and police showed "disturbing" reality.
In a letter to DDA, shared with the court, the police had said that they have a "strong apprehension that there can be a major law and order problem at the time of removal of these jhuggis as some anti-social elements who were involved in crimes like robbery, snatching, burglary, etc, have started staying there.
Recently, clashes also took place between different groups for construction of jhuggis and cross cases were registered. The report added that from time to time efforts have been made to remove the encroachments but due to strong protests by the residents, nothing could be done", it said.
DDA had pointed out that the plot is 'green land' and is maintained by the horticulture division.
It had said the condition of the park has deteriorated and any attempt to clean it is hindered by the people residing illegally in the area.
The authority blamed the police for not prosecuting the illegal encroachers on the government land.
The court had on October 19, 2015, asked the authorities concerned to remove all unauthorised encroachments and illegal constructions inside the Park within three months.