Background of the Case
In 2018 Rinku Kaushik filed a petition before the Delhi High Court alleging that several buildings had been constructed near Qutub Minar, which is a minaret and a victory tower that has been recognized by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as a world heritage site. The constructions of the buildings were alleged by the petitioner to be illegal and unauthorized.
Earlier, on 28th December 2020, a similar petition was filed before the Delhi High Court by Rishi Sehdev challenging the construction in close proximity of Qutub Minar. In this case, the Delhi High Court pointed out that the construction was taking place within 40 meters from the Qutub Minar and the High Court observed that
“permission could not have been granted for any construction in the prohibited zone of 100 meters abutting a protected monument”.
Thereafter, the High Court had directed concerned officers to look into the matter and file affidavits with the High Court. Then the matter was listed for being heard on 17th February, 2021.
Arguments before the Court
In the initial petition filed by the petitioner, it was alleged that “vast illegal and unauthorized colony was being developed on government land adjoining Qutub Minar and six stored and above height buildings are being constructed there.”
The Counsel appearing for the petitioner had contended that the Delhi High Court had issued directions against undertaking constructions near the world-renowned Qutub Minar; however, the officers of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi had permitted the illegal and unauthorized construction.
The learned Counsel appearing for the Municipal Corporation of Delhi submitted that the Corporation had filed a status report earlier indicating that demolition was being undertaken. The Counsel pointed out that the Delhi High Court had stated that such demolition action was cosmetic. Furthermore, the Counsel appearing for the Municipal Corporation of Delhi requested the High Court to grant time to file a status report containing details of properties that had come up in the vicinity of the Qutub Minar.
Observations of the Court
Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva considered the contentions of both the parties and directed the Municipal Corporation of Delhi to file a report concerning the illegal constructions near Qutub Minar.
The Delhi High Court granted time to the Municipal Corporation of Delhi and asked them to file a status report pertaining to the constructions that have been made in close proximity to Qutub Minar and the High Court also directed them to attach photographs in the report. The Court also directed the Municipal Corporation to fix the responsibility of officers who were supposed to monitor the area also the officers who had permitted the illegal constructions.