Lal Gumbad: Delhi High Court asks ASI, DDA to rid pre-Mughal monument of encroachments

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday asked the Archaeological Survey of India and the Delhi Development Authority to treat a plea seeking the preservation of Lal Gumbad, a pre-Mughal era protected monument, as a representation. The monument lies near Malviya Nagar area in the capital. 

The Division Bench comprising Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh disposed of the plea filed by one Sudhir Gupta alleging illegal encroachment and construction around the vicinity of the monument. The Bench was not inclined to allow the matter without impleadment of owners/occupiers who are alleged to have raised illegal super-structures around the said monument.  

The Bench held thus: “The basic grievance ventilated in the petition is about the removal of the encroachment and preservation of monument Lal Gumbad on Field No. 84 of Sarai Shahji Village, New Delhi, as it stood in the year 1918…. It appears that without joining the persons who are owners/occupiers of the so-called illegal construction, the present petition has been preferred. Therefore, this Court is not inclined to give specific direction to the respondents to remove or demolish the particular construction.” 

Nonetheless, the Bench asked the concerned respondent authorities to treat the petition as a representation and decide the same after giving an effective remedy of being heard to the affected parties, as expeditiously as possible and practicable.

“We also direct the concerned respondent authorities to remove the illegal encroachment, if any. The concerned respondent authorities before removal of the encroachment, shall give an effective opportunity of being heard to the owners/ occupiers of the super-structures which in opinion of the respondents are required to be removed,” the Bench added. 

Filed through Advocate Arjun Mitra, the plea seeks calling of the records pertaining to the notification by which Lal Gumbad was declared to be an ancient monument; and a direction to ensure that all encroachments in respect of the monument are removed in accordance with law

The plea further seeks a direction to ensure that due action is taken in accordance with law, in respect of constructions that have come up around the monument and have the same removed.
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