Delhi High Court today prohibited all land transactions and building activities in the area, expressing concern over the “rampant and unabated” illegal constructions in Tughlaqabad Fort despite the Supreme Court disallowing it. A bench of justices Badar Durrez Ahmed and Ashutosh Kumar also held that no manufacturing or industrial activity would be permissible in the area. The directions came after the court perused the demarcation report filed by Delhi government’s revenue department, which had carried out the exercise on its order. Additional standing counsel for Delhi government Naushad Ahmed Khan said as per the report, there were vacant sites and open land in the area. In view of the submission, the court directed the revenue department to demarcate the vacant areas immediately, using latest technology like drones, so as to protect them from any encroachment. The Archaeological Survey of India, represented by the Centre’s standing counsel Sanjeev Narula, told the bench that since 2010, it has issued over 370 notices to the Sub- Divisional Magistrate (SDM) and the Collector regarding illegal construction in the area, but no action was taken.
ASI also said that since it had no task force of its own, it cannot on its own take action.
Taking note of ASI’s contentions, the bench said “it clearly indicates that there is rampant unauthorised construction in the area, despite orders of Supreme Court and agencies concerned are not paying heed of the same”.
It directed the concerned District Magistrate (DM), SDM, DCP south east and the South Delhi Municipal Corporation to “take action in accordance with law whenever a notice is issued by ASI”.
The court then listed the matter for further hearing on April 19.
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It was hearing a PIL to protect, maintain and preserve the historic 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 historic fort, built in 1321 AD by Tughlaq dynasty founder Ghiyas-ud-din Tughlaq, was being violated.
The apex court in February 2016 had declared the entire Tughlaqabad Fort as protected and directed the ASI not to allow any land grabbing or encroachment there.