The Delhi High Court today directed the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) to look into the allegations of encroachment on a pond land, claimed to illegally allotted to Delhi Sahitya Kala Parishad, and said that in case of any illegality, the encroachment has to be removed by the authorities.

A Bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Neena Bansal Krishna, dealing with a public interest litigation by Resident Welfare Association of Budhela, where the pond was located, asked DDA to take a decision in accordance with law after hearing the concerned parties.

"We hereby direct Respondent no 2 (DDA) to decide the claim of the petitioner so far as encroachment on property in question is concerned. The decision will be taken in accordance with law, rules, regulations and government policy and on the basis of the evidence on record and after giving adequate opportunity of hearing to concerned persons including respondent number 3 (Delhi Sahitya Kala Parishad)," the Court ordered.

"If encroachment is found, it shall be removed by the authorities in accordance with law as expeditiously as possible and practicable," it added.

Lawyer Krishna Kumar Sharma, appearing for the petitioner, said the authorities took over the johad/pond illegally in 2002 and filled it with soil and then allotted it to the Kala Parishad for construction of an auditorium.

"This particular land was in the form of a johad/pond for village people, cattle and flying birds but now the said land has been allotted to the Sahitya Kala Parishad for construction purposes," the petition said.

It added that no action was taken by the authorities on the grievances raised by the petitioner with respect to the allotment and a boundary wall has been constructed on the site.

The petition stated that the authorities, by their conduct, have breached judicial orders on the preservation of ponds in the interest of the environment and violated Article 21 of the Constitution.

With PTI inputs