Taking note of the illegal and unauthorized construction of about 40m near Qutub Minar, an ASI protected heritage monument, the Delhi High Court directed the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and the Zonal Deputy Commissioner of the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) to look into the matter of the failure of duties and fix the responsibility of the officers.
One Rishi Sehdev has filed a petition through Advocates Ashish Chauhan, Vikram Singh Baid, Kushagra Bansal of A. K. Associates, stating,
“The said illegal conduct of the Respondents in allowing/overlooking the construction activity being undertaken in such close vicinity of the Qutub Minar has caused grave harm to the sanctity and aesthetics of historical sites which are already in dire need to conservation from the over-burdened and polluted NCR of Delhi.”
The court said
“The construction has been carried out in such a large area – surely, this could not have escaped the attention of either the police, the ASI or the corporation.”
As per the standing counsel of the SDMC, the permission for construction was taken from the civic body and the ASI based on misrepresented facts and fabricated documents.
Following this, A single-judge bench of Justice Najmi Waziri observed that it was ‘odd’ as no permission can be granted for the construction in the prohibited zone of 100m which has a common boundary with a protected monument.
The Court in this matter states,
“Let the concerned zonal deputy commissioner of the corporation also look into the matter and fix responsibility of the officers who may be found to be in dereliction of their duties. Similarly, the matter be also looked at by the director-general of ASI. The deputy commissioner of police (south) too shall look into the matter with respect to the role of the police in this regard.”
The Counsel representing SDMC also told the court that only one full-grown tree had been felled down, however as per the court’s finding based on the Google Photos submitted by the petitioner, it was noticed that many trees have been felled.
Further, the High Court directed the corporation, Archaeological Survey of India, and the Tree Officer to file affidavits, photographs, and relevant documents within four weeks. The next hearing will be conducted on 17 February 2021.
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