HC give 'last indulgence' to ASI to remove encroachment at Tughlaqabad Fort
New Delhi, Nov 24 (PTI) The Delhi High Court Thursday granted six weeks as the “last indulgence” to the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to remove encroachments in and around the Tughlaqabad Fort.
A bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad made it clear that non-compliance with its order will lead to strict action by the court and that it will call for appearance of members of a committee which was formed in 2017 to oversee the task of surveying the structure to determine which of them existed in 1993.
As the counsel for ASI expressed its inability to remove the encroachments due to non-cooperation of other departments, the lawyers for MCD, DDA and other authorities submitted they will extend full assistance to the ASI.
The bench asked power utility BSES to cooperate as the electricity supply at the site needs to be disconnected before removing encroachments, and directed all the authorities concerned and the committee members to file their status reports.
“The fact remains that encroachments are still there within the fort,” the bench said.
“By way of last indulgence, six weeks are granted to ASI to remove the encroachment and file a status report. It is made clear that non-compliance of the order will result in strict action by the court and will call for appearance of all committee members,” it warned.
The court listed the matter for further hearing on January 16.
In 2017, the high court had formed a committee, saying it was of the view that the issue of survey of the structures to determine which of them existed in 1993, as indicated by the judgment of the Supreme Court, will be better subserved if a committee oversaw the task.
It had said the committee, comprising the Vice-Chairman, DDA (or his nominee, preferably the Member Commissioner Land Management), the Commissioner of SDMC (represented by the Deputy Commissioner of the concerned Zone), a senior ranking official of the ASI to be nominated by its Director General, the Joint Commissioner of Delhi Police and the Secretary Revenue as well as an independent observer, that is, representative of INTACH, be formed.
The high court had earlier prohibited all land transactions and building activities in the area and expressed concern over "rampant and unabated" illegal constructions in Tughlaqabad Fort despite the Supreme Court disallowing it.
It was hearing a PIL of 2001 to protect, maintain and preserve the historical fort, an issue which the apex court had directed the Delhi High Court to monitor.
The court had earlier also noted that the apex court's direction to protect the fort, built in 1321 AD by Tughlaq dynasty founder Ghiyas-ud-din Tughlaq, was being violated.
The apex court had in February 2016 declared the entire Tughlaqabad Fort as protected, and directed the ASI to not allow any land grabbing or encroachment there. PTI SKV SKV SK