A temple got here up final week on the central verge at Chandni Chowk the place a Hanuman Mandir was demolished by the authorities final month in compliance with the orders of Delhi Excessive Court docket. The set up of a pre-fabricated construction on the website has led to a contemporary battle between the Delhi authorities and BJP-ruled North Delhi Municipal Company (NDMC), with the Public Works Division of the AAP-led dispensation in search of police motion within the matter and the civic physique planning to grant the construction a authorized standing.
Since January, the political events have engaged in a blame recreation over the demolition. However what has their stand been earlier than the courtroom?
What’s the case being heard by the Delhi Excessive Court docket?
The Delhi Excessive Court docket since 2007 has been listening to a petition filed by Manushi Sangathan. Apart from different points, the courtroom within the case has been monitoring the redevelopment of Chandni Chowk and decongesting of the principle arterial roads there. It had taken notice of the “abysmal visitors and different prevailing circumstances” within the Chandni Chowk essential arterial approach.
When did the courtroom go orders for demolition of the buildings?
There have been 5 unauthorised spiritual buildings within the pedestrian house within the space. Since not one of the authorities earlier than courtroom disputed the place concerning the encroachments, a division bench in April 2015 directed the land-owning company — the municipal company — to take away them by Could 2015 and in addition ordered the Delhi authorities in addition to the police to increase their full cooperation.
In August 2015, the courtroom dismissed an software filed by the NDMC for modification of the order. The company had claimed that title within the roads is vested with the Delhi authorities however the courtroom stated title in all public streets and roads is vested with the municipal physique as per Part 298 of the Delhi Municipal Company Act. The order was challenged in Supreme Court docket by the NDMC but it surely failed to attain something.
Since little progress was made on the course concerning the elimination of the spiritual buildings, the Delhi Excessive Court docket continued to go orders reiterating its earlier course. Whereas the authorities took care of the three buildings, two continued to stay in existence.
In December 2015, the courtroom was instructed by NDMC that there isn’t any resistance within the elimination of Bhai Mati Das Smarak, a short lived shed, however the Hanuman temple, situated on round a 25 sq km space, has been in existence since 1974 and the priest has agreed to shifting of the temple if house is supplied wherever else. It submitted the “temple shall be relocated”.
In August 2018, a contemporary plan, a replica of which was proven to courtroom too, was drawn up for implementation of the redevelopment venture. In response to it, the North MDC was to take away the Hanuman temple “in order that (the) width of the non-motorised car lane within the space can be a uniform 5.5 meters”.
In August 2019, the Delhi authorities requested the Commissioner North DMC to behave in accordance with the courtroom instructions. Nevertheless, the order for elimination of the encroachments was nonetheless not applied utterly.
When confronted with repeated non-compliance of its order, the HC in October 2019 requested the Lieutenant Governor, who’s chairperson of the committee on the elimination of encroachments within the type of spiritual buildings, to look at all of the orders, experiences of North DMC and different paperwork, and go acceptable orders.
What was the view of the Non secular Committee?
The committee in October 2019 took a view that the Hanuman Mandir and Shiv Mandir, two of the 5 encroachments, needs to be made an integral a part of the redevelopment plan. The committee determined that they might be allowed to exist on the identical website after dismantling the platform or ‘chabutra’ present across the temple.
The committee additionally determined that Bhai Mati Das Smarak might also be a part of the plan “to showcase the heritage of Indian historical past”. The committee, within the minutes of the assembly, additionally recorded that the Pujari of the Hanuman Temple additionally has resiled from his earlier assertion about shifting the temple to another place.
In November 2019, the company dealing with the venture defined to the courtroom that not one of the options to accommodating the temple construction appear possible. The courtroom was additionally stated that shopkeepers adjoining the temple have been of the view that inconvenience is being attributable to the presence of temples and so they additionally oppose the shifting of the temple on the footpath in the direction of their store.
What did the courtroom say after listening to concerning the Non secular Committee’s resolution?
Observing that the Non secular Committee with out inspecting the feasibility of its proposal first went forward with its resolution, the HC on November 14, 2019 stated such a call is inconsistent with the courtroom orders and directed the authorities, together with the Delhi authorities, notably its Further Chief Secretary (Residence), to discharge the constitutional and statutory duties.
It additionally stated the stand of the regulation enforcement company that “it’s powerless to make sure regulation and order, and due to this fact, can’t implement orders of this courtroom and the Supreme Court docket”, if accepted, would critically threaten the legitimacy of the rule of regulation. The order was challenged by the Delhi authorities for putting the duty on its Residence Division.
Nevertheless, the Supreme Court docket disposed of the plea in view of a press release made by the federal government that it could transfer an software earlier than the Excessive Court docket as an alternative. The appliance was by no means filed earlier than the courtroom.
North DMC on October 31, 2020 issued an order proposing to demolish the temple on November 1. On November 20 final yr, the Excessive Court docket dismissed an software filed by the Manokamna Siddh Shri Hanuman Seva Samiti in opposition to the North DMC order and referred to as it an try and reagitate the identical difficulty that was thought-about and rejected in November 2019 by it. On January 3, the temple was demolished, resulting in a blame recreation between AAP and BJP.
What occurred within the Supreme Court docket within the case difficult the demolition?
A petition difficult the demolition got here up for listening to earlier than the apex courtroom final week. It additionally sought instructions for re-establishing the Hanuman Temple. Nevertheless, the petition was withdrawn with a press release by the petitioners that they might as an alternative “transfer a illustration earlier than the competent authority for contemplating a request for allotment of an alternate website away from the realm in query, which doesn’t pose any hazard to visitors or the motion of pedestrians”.
The apex courtroom, whereas permitting the request for withdrawal, within the order stated, “No opinion is expressed both on the locus of the petitioners or the maintainability of any such recourse as they might undertake.”
What has occurred now and is there a precedent?
A temple — a pre-fabricated construction — was reinstalled at Chandni Chowk final week. Whereas the PWD has referred to as it an impediment within the theme of the redevelopment venture, NDMC Mayor Jai Prakash has stated he’ll focus on with officers how the temple could be given authorized standing.
In April 2016, the Excessive Court docket had issued contempt notices to Manjinder Singh Sirsa and Manjeet Singh G.Okay. after they together with others had allegedly reconstructed a water kiosk or ‘piao’ which had been demolished in accordance with the courtroom order directing the elimination of unauthorized constructions.
“This can be a plainly unacceptable state of affairs the place an open problem has been posed to the orders of this Court docket by wilfully flouting it with impunity,” the courtroom had stated.
The contempt proceedings in opposition to them have been dropped later after Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Administration Committee submitted an alternate proposal concerning the ‘paio’ at Sheesh Ganj Gurdwara at Chandni Chowk. The sooner one was situated within the walkway and was later introduced according to the proposal submitted to the federal government and venture advisor.