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CPI(M) Delhi Moves SC Against Planned Demolition Drives in South Delhi

The petitioner suspects that the authorities are now planning to demolish buildings in Shaheen Bagh and other areas from May 9 to May 13.
Brinda Karat

CPI(M) Polit Bureau member, Brinda Karat, stopping a bulldozer in Jahangirpuri, North Delhi in April 2022 after the administration continued the demolition drive despite a stay by the Supreme Court. | Image Courtesy: CPI(M) Facebook

The Delhi State Committee Communist Party of India (Marxist) has recently moved the Supreme Court challenging the demolition drive being undertaken in different areas of South Delhi, LiveLaw reported. The petition has alleged the demolition to be 'illegal', 'inhuman' and 'in total violation of principles of natural justice, statutes and the Constitution under the guise of encroachment removal programme'.

This petition comes in the aftermath of the anti-encroachment drive fiasco in Jahangirpuri last month, when despite a status quo order by the apex court, the North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) continued to bulldoze alleged encroachments, and it was only after intervention by Brinda Karat, polit bureau member of CPI(M) and other Left parties, that the drive was put on hold.

Since then, the BJP-ruled civic bodies of Delhi have made their intentions clear on future anti-encroachment drives. For instance, on April 28, the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) issued a letter to the police authorities for providing necessary police force to its staff to maintain law and order for the encroachment removal operation in different areas under SDMC.

A revised letter was written by SDMC seeking police force for the demolitions to be carried out between April 30 and May 13. On May 4, the concerned authorities bulldozed buildings in Sangham Vihar area. However demolition was not pursued in the Kalindi Kunj area due to lack of police force.

The petitioner suspects that the authorities are now planning to demolish buildings in Shaheen Bagh and other areas from May 9 to May 13.

The petition alleges that the present round of demolition being undertaken in South Delhi is without any show cause notice and in absolute derogation of principles of natural justice, statutory scheme of the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act, 1957 and the rights protected by the Constitution. Statutory notices have not been issued to owners and occupants of the buildings, who are mostly poor and belong to the marginalised communities. The demolitions are being carried out in an arbitrary manner, in an absolute discard for rights protected under Article 14, 19 and 21 of the Constitution.

The petition claims that the demolition drive is politically motivated and is absolutely and manifestly arbitrary and in the teeth of substantive due process. It also seeks stay of the demolishing drive that is being pursued in South Delhi localities.

The petition has been drawn by Advocate Subhash Chandran KR and filed by Advocate Biju P Raman.

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