Hauz Khas Village, a hub of commercial establishments, is under the radar of the Delhi High Court for illegal construction and encroachments. Following PILs on the unlawful existence of restaurants, pubs, fashion studios, bars serving liquor without licence, art galleries and other buildings in the village, a bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Rekha Palli today asked the authorities to explain how these establishments could run without permit. It issued notice to the Centre, Delhi government, Delhi Police and South Delhi municipal corporation, in whose area the village falls, to file their status report. It asked the authorities to ensure strict enforcement of law in the area. It also asked the police and chief fire engineer to inspect the village and submit a report whether any emergency vehicle can enter in an emergent situation.
The court also asked concerned officials to carry out a survey and find the exact number of restaurants operating illegally without the approval from the corporation.
The petition filed by Pankaj Sharma, social activist, has alleged that there are over 120 restaurants and pubs running without building plan approval from the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) in the last 10 years. Another plea by advocate Anuja Kapur said that such pubs and bars do not have no objection certificates (NOC) from the authorities concerned, leading to violation of the law. Kapur alleged in her plea that the cops are not seen in that area, due to which several other illegal activities are carried on by the pub owners.
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While seeking direction to impose a complete ban on such pubs and bars, the plea alleged that their owners were running those activities in connivance with the local police. She also claimed she had written to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and senior police officials but no action was taken against the violators.
“The restaurants are not only operating without legal permission, but are violating the instructions of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) barring any construction within 100 metres of its protected monuments,” the plea by Sharma added.