Give stipulated period of time line for completing rail underpass in Karol Bagh: Delhi High Court

With construction of a railway underpass in Karol Bagh area here pending completion since its approval in 2010, the Delhi High Court today asked the Centre to hold a meeting of all stakeholders and give a time line within which the work would be finished.

A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar issued the direction to the Secretary of the Ministry of Urban Development after the North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) informed the court that cost of the project has to be shared by the Centre also.

The court also issued notice to the ministry, Delhi government, NDMC, Delhi Development Authority and the Northern Railways

The project in question pertains to the construction of a Road Under Bridge, also known as a railway underpass, connecting Rama Road and Prem Nagar in Karol Bagh Zone and its foundation stone was laid in 2014, the court was told in a PIL which seeks a direction to the authorities to complete the work.

According to the petition, cost of the project was Rs 128 crore with an additional Rs 58 crore required for acquiring land for the work and the central government is expected to bear 80 per cent of the project cost and the rest is allocated by the agency involved, in this case NDMC.

The plea, by two residents of the area, has claimed that there is currently only a single road via a railway crossing for the residents of Prem Nagar to reach Rama Road and Najafgarh road.

The connecting road via the crossing opens only five to six times a day and the people are “forced to go straight through the railway track even when such crossing is not open, leading to the loss of many lives”, the petitioners, Shravan Kumar Chaubey and Dilip Kumar Gupta, have said.

The petition, filed through advocate Prashant Bhushan, has claimed that according to information received under the RTI Act, 514 accidents have taken place in which 436 people have lost their lives and 78 have been seriously injured between 2010-17 due to the lack of an underpass there.

“Despite sending reminders and representations to the authorities of various concerned departments the authorities have acted arbitrarily and have failed to start the construction of underpass knowing the fact that people are losing their lives due to lack of an underpass,” the petition has said.

The plea has also contended that the NDMC did not take up the project as it had no money to spare and “passed the onus to the urban development department of the Delhi government”.

It has sought directions to the Centre to release the funds required for the project and to finish it within a stipulated period of time.

HC reserves verdict on pleas against MCD election

The Delhi High Court today reserved its verdict on pleas seeking quashing of the notification laying down the manner of allocation of wards for reserved categories and women in the upcoming MCD polls.

“Arguments heard. Judgement reserved,” a bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Chander Shekhar

said.

Terming the petitions as “absurd”, the Delhi state election commission has told the court that there was “no unreasonableness” in the process of the allocation of the seats.

It argued that none of the political parties, who are the major stake holders in the present poll, has challenged their formula.

“It was so, because they were part of the consultation process, after which only we have taken the decision,” the commission, represented by advocate Sumeet Pushkarna, said.

It was responding to the pleas by NGOs and several social activists, who have sought quashing of the notification laying down the manner of allocation of wards for reserved categories and women in the upcoming MCD polls.

They have also challenged the commission’s February 6 notification, announcing the election for 272 wards of the three municipal corporations here.

The elections are scheduled to be held on April 22.

In its pleas, the NGOs have said that the Delhi Municipal Corporation (DMC) in 2011 was divided into three zone — North Delhi Municipal Corporation, East Delhi Municipal Corporation and South Delhi Municipal Corporation.

They said while the number of wards in each of the three corporations 104 each in South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) and North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) and 64 in East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) has remained the same, the number of wards in a few assembly segments has changed, ranging from three to seven.

Claiming that the present notification was contrary to the Constitution as well as Section 3 of the DMC Act, one of the pleas demanded that it should be quashed and a fresh circular issued in accordance with the law.

It has sought direction to identify and determine the municipal wards for the purpose of reservation for scheduled caste, women and general category in terms of Article 243 of the Constitution.

The Article provides for reservation of seats for the scheduled castes in the municipal area by rotation to different constituency in the municipality.

Source : PTI

Mosque row: Excavation not yet started, ASI tells HC

The Archaeological Survey of India said to the Delhi High Court that it has not yet started excavation on a site near Red Fort to ascertain whether remains of a Mughal-era mosque existed there in view of lack of clarity on an apex court order on status quo.

“The excavation of the site, as directed by the high court, has not been undertaken following the Supreme Court order to maintain status quo,” the counsel for ASI told a bench headed by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul.

The ASI informed the court that it has moved an application in the apex court seeking clarification of the order asking authorities to maintain status quo at a place inside Subhash Park here where local MLA Shoaib Iqbal and his supporters allegedly trespassed and built a mosque claiming that remnants of Akbarabadi masjid were found there during Metro construction work.

The court, meanwhile, disposed of a plea seeking to initiate contempt proceedings against Delhi Police Commissioner for allegedly making contradictory statements in the Supreme Court and in the High Court on providing security to lawmaker Iqbal.

It also directed the Union Home Ministry to “assess” the alleged security threat to a petitioner in the case with 10 days.

North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC), which owns the park in the walled city area where DMRC was conducting the excavation relating to a metro project, also cited the apex court order on the issue.

Earlier, Iqbal had moved the Supreme Court against the High Court order asking MCD to demolish the illegal structure with the help of police to facilitate a probe by ASI of the ruins of a mosque allegedly found during the excavation work undertaken by DMRC. The court ordered staus quo at the site on his plea.

During the hearing, Additional Solicitor General Siddharth Luthra, appearing for Delhi police, said that the matter be kept at abeyance as the Supreme Court is seized with it.

“We are also awaiting the Supreme Court order. We don’t believe in adjourning the matter sine die (adjourning the case without fixing a future date of hearing) as the matter goes out of sight. We will fix it after the date of hearing in the Supreme Court,” the bench, also comprising justices Rajiv Shakdher and M L Mehta, said.

IIT-Kanpur to probe presence of Mughal structure in Delhi park

The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) Friday told the Delhi High Court that the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur would carry out a survey to ascertain if there any Mughal-era mosque structure existed near Subhash Park in central Delhi.

The ASI submitted its status report in a sealed cover to a special bench of Acting Chief Justice A.K. Sikri, Justice S.K. Kaul and Justice Rajiv Shakdher saying that IIT-Kanpur will conduct a ground penetration radar survey of the site and submit its report by the end of September.

It further submitted that after IIT-Kanpur submit its report, the ASI will start its work on the site.

During the course of hearing, the North Delhi Municipal Corporation cleared its stand on the issue and said that it is ready to comply with the court’s July 30 order to demolish the illegal structure that came up in the park but sought police assistance for the purpose.

The court July 30 asked the ASI and the corporation to remove the structure, and instructed police to provide protection to the demolition team.

Counsel for the civic agency said that the agency is not into the matter of mosque or temple and it is not favouring any religion.

“Let police provide us force and we will demolish the structure within two hours,” MCD added asking court to fix date and time of demolition of illegal structure.

Meanwhile, the court abruptly adjourned the case for next Friday after lawyers and people of both the parties affected the decorum of court.

During the arguments of senior advocate K.T.S. Tulsi appearing for legislator Shoaib Iqbal, other parties including lawyers present in the court and supporters of both the sides raised objection to his submission to allow prayers on the disputed land.

“Though we have started hearing the matter, we have to abruptly adjourn the matter because of presence of large number of people in the court which is creating disturbance in smooth functioning of the proceedings,” said the court in its order.

The order further stated: “It has created atmosphere of indiscipline. And is affecting court decorum. Influenced by their presence, even at times there is an attempt to play to the gallery. We feel that hearing can not take place in such an atmosphere and in a matter like this, there is no need for such large gathering.”

The bench made it clear that only the counsel appearing for the parties and journalists would be present in the court during the hearing of the case.

The dispute began after the construction had come up over the ruins of another structure believed to be from the Mughal era. It had surfaced during the digging work for a Delhi Metro station.

The court handed over the site to the ASI to ascertain if the ruins were indeed the remains of the Akbarabadi mosque from the Mughal era.