The Supreme Court on Monday, 26 September, directed the Agra Development Authority to immediately halt all commercial activities within a 500-metre radius from the peripheral/boundary wall of the Taj Mahal.
The petition seeking the direction was moved by a group of shopkeepers who had been allotted an area outside the 500-metre radius of the Taj Mahal for their businesses. They informed the court that illegal business activities are being carried out within a 500-metre radius from the monument, which is in violation of previous orders issued by the top court, reported Live Law.
The order was issued by a bench comprising Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Abhay S Oka in order to protect the UNESCO Heritage Site.
“We allow the prayer that reads – Direct the Agra Development Authority to remove all business activities within 500 meters from the boundary/peripheral wall of the monument Taj Mahal which shall be in tune with Article 14 of the Constitution of India,” the order stated.
What Happened in the Hearing?
Advocate M C Dhingra, appearing for the petitioners, argued that all business activities within the said radius of the Taj Mahal should be removed to ensure strict compliance with previous orders. The petitioners are supported by amicus curiae in the matter, senior advocate A D N Rao said. He added that it would be in the interest of the monument for directions to be issued to put a stop to all commercial activities happening in the vicinity of the Taj Mahal.
The Supreme Court has previously passed orders on public interest litigation by environmentalist MC Mehta in 1984 to monitor developments in the area to protect the Taj Mahal, reported Hindustan Times.
The 500-metre radius from the Taj Mahal is a no-construction zone with strict regulations on vehicular movement and a ban on the burning of wood, municipal solid waste, and agricultural waste near the historic mausoleum, the report added.
(With inputs from Live Law and Hindustan Times.)