Expressing displeasure over the reconstruction of a water kiosk near the historic Gurdwara Sis Ganj Sahib in Chandni Chowk area here after its demolition on judicial orders, Delhi High Court today warned it will not tolerate people taking law into their hands.
“Why piao (water kiosk) is not removed? We do not approve of people taking law into their hands. This tendency of people to think they can dictate what will happen despite court orders, that culture is what we want to get rid off. That won’t be tolerated. We do not want a situation where there is breakdown of law and order.
“This is not about the ‘piao’. For us it is about the dignity of the court and upholding the rule of law. There will always be a situation where someone is not happy,” a bench of justices S Muralidhar and Vibhu Bakhru said.
The court also pulled up Delhi government when it said the water kiosk was only for providing free drinking water. The court asked the government: “Why don’t you as government provide free drinking water in that area as well as entire Delhi whose citizens desperately need it.”
“Don’t distinguish between people who go to a gurdwara or temple and people on the streets. We would be happy if you provide drinking water to all people in the Chandni Chowk area and rest of Delhi, especially in this weather,”the bench said.
The court also issued notice to the Delhi government, its public works department and North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) seeking their replies on a plea by Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) seeking that the water kiosk as well as another structure at Bhai Matidas Chowk there not be demolished as these were heritage structures.
DSGMC also said it was not heard before the two structures were declared unauthorised.
The court said it will decide whether the kiosk was a heritage site or not and asked the government to inform it when the kiosk was built.
The high court had earlier ordered removal of illegal encroachments from footpaths and roadside of Chandni Chowk.
A mob took to violent protests on Wednesday when municipal officials demolished the kiosk in the drive to remove encroachments following the high court’s March 28 order. The ‘piao’ was rebuilt overnight after the officials left.
With regard to the structure at Bhai Matidas chowk, it asked the Lieutenant Governor to hold a meeting and place a report with all materials on the basis of which the structure was declared unauthorised.
The court said it had passed the demolition order after the government had said all religious groups were consulted prior to declaring the two structures, and several others in the area, as unauthorised and made it clear that action would be taken against those responsible if it was found that DSGMC was not heard or that the structures were heritage structures.
The bench, however, did not pass any status quo order as sought by DSGMC, saying if the ‘piao’ can be reconstructed overnight after being demolished, it can again be constructed if it is found that it was a heritage structure.
DSGMC, during the hearing, had sought a status quo order with regard to the two structures saying they could be demolished by the authorities before the next date of hearing of May 12.
The two DSGMC members, Manjeet Singh GK and Manjinder Singh Sirsa, who were issued contempt notices for the kiosk’s reconstruction, were today restrained by the court from going near the kiosk or from taking any “precipitative action”.
“We do not want them to cause any obstruction or lead any people there,” the court said.
However, the two DSGMC members said in court that they will not be able to obey the direction as they have to visit the Gurdwara in the coming week owing to a religious event and the ‘piao’ was within the Gurdwara. The bench however did not respond to the statement by them.
Contempt notices were issued to the two after police told the court that they were “leading a mob” which had “violently” protested against the demolition of the ‘piao’ and were also responsible for reconstruction of the water kiosk.
The high court had earlier ordered removal of illegal encroachments from footpaths and roadsides of Chandni Chowk.
After the court was informed about the reconstruction, it had directed police to “immediately ensure round the clock vigil around the reconstructed ‘piao’ and ensure that it is not put to use”.
Delhi police today told the bench that there was a round- the-clock vigil at the site and no one was being permitted to use the ‘piao’.
( Source – PTI )