‘Maintain Status Quo’: Supreme Court Stays Jahangirpuri ‘Encroachment Drive’

After demolitions continued even after court's order, CJI Ramana directed it to be conveyed to the police & NDMC.

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The Supreme Court on Wednesday, 20 April, ordered the maintenance of the status quo as regards the NDMC's encroachment drive in Jahangirpuri, Delhi, effectively staying the drive till the court can take up the matter.

The bench headed by Chief Justice of India NV Ramana has directed that the petition on behalf of residents of the area by the Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind challenging the drive (which was announced on Tuesday and begun on Wednesday morning) should be listed before an appropriate bench on Thursday, 21 April.

A group of senior advocates, including Dushyant Dave, Kapil Sibal and Sanjay Hegde, mentioned the matter before the apex court.

Dave argued that the demolition drive was "completely unconstitutional and illegal" and that no notice had been given to the residents.

The CJI ordered maintenance of status quo, and agreed to list the petition. Kapil Sibal also informed the court that another petition has been filed asking for directions against similar encroachment drives across the country and asked for the petitions to be listed together.


Demolition Drive Continues Even After Order, CJI Has Order Sent to Authorities

The order came after several vending carts, shops, and other allegedly illegally constructions were already destroyed by bulldozers during the demolition drive, witnessed by The Quint.

The drive, ostensibly against illegal constructions and encroachments, comes days after clashes broke out in the north-west Delhi district during a Hanuman Jayanti procession.

After the court's initial pronouncement, North Delhi Municipal Corporation Mayor Raja Iqbal Singh told news agency ANI that they would comply with it. "We have stopped our work (anti-encroachment drive in Jahangirpuri)," he had said.

However, the demolition drive continued even after this. As a result, senior advocate Dushyant Dave had to mention the matter again before the Supreme Court at around 12:15 pm.

The CJI then directed the Registrar General of the Supreme Court to immediately communicate the order to the Delhi Police commissioner and the NDMC Mayor so that it was complied with.

In the meanwhile, another petition against the demolition drive was also being filed in the Delhi High Court. When this was mentioned before the bench of the acting chief justice of the high court Vipin Sanghi by advocate Shahrukh Alam, he refused to pass a stay, saying the matter would be taken up later in the day.

The high court petition has been listed for hearing at 2 pm on Wednesday, but is unlikely to be taken further since the Supreme Court is seized of the matter.

(With inputs from ANI)

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