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Sealing Drive in Delhi: Supreme Court Seeks Reply from Officials

The Supreme Court on Monday directed the Land & Development Office (L&DO) to respond on the allegations levelled by the court-appointed monitoring committee that officials were not cooperating in the sealing drive to “appease political leaders”.

A bench of Justices Arun Mishra & Deepak Gupta granted the L&DO seven days’ time to file affidavit to make its stand clear on the court-monitored sealing drive against illegal & unauthorised constructions in Delhi. Additional Solicitor General ANS Nadkarni, however, refuted the allegations & agreed to file affidavit.

In a scathing report, the panel told the court that L&DO was not cooperating in the sealing drive & stalling the process to “appease political leaders”. In a five-page report submitted before SC on the status of action taken against unauthorised buildings & removal of encroachment from public land, the committee said there is a wilful non-cooperation on the part of L&DO to frustrate the court’s mandate on sealing & sought intervention to direct the agency to carry out the drive.

The report said the committee had convened a meeting of Delhi Police, officers of MCD, L&DO & SDMC to chalk out plan to seal more than 300 premises in Amar Colony & June 25 was fixed as the date to carry out the operation. However, on the morning of June 25 a communication was received from L&DO saying operation had been deferred & sealing notice kept in abeyance on the ground that the constructions enjoyed protection under Delhi Laws (Special Provisions) Act, 2011.

“From the sequence of events, the conduct of officials was to stall sealing at the last moment to appease political leaders,” the report added.

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