The North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) has filed its Counter Affidavit before the Supreme Court in the PIL filed by Jamiat Ulama-I-Hind with respect to the demolition drive carried out by the NDMC in the Jahangirpuri area last month.

The Supreme Court had ordered status quo upon mentioning of the matter by Senior Advocate Dushyant Dave on April 20. However, the drive continued until the Court directed that the order be communicated to the authorities. Thereafter, the Court had extended the interim order.

In the affidavit of May 8 filed by the Commissioner of the NDMC, the NDMC has said that the drive was carried out in compliance with the direction of the Delhi High Court in the Writ Petition No. 462 of 2021.

The NDMC has argued that as per the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act, 1957, it can remove unauthorized projections on public land and unauthorized temporary structures beyond the boundary of houses and shops, without serving notice. It has also said that for the removal of such structures, bulldozers are required.

"When a road or footpath is cleared, the process goes on from one end to another without any distinction of the religion or owner/occupier who has unauthorizedly occupied footpath or public road", the NDMC says while denying the allegation of targeting any particular community.

The NDMC also says that in most places, the position before the demolition drive has re-appeared. "In other words, after the status quo order, those who were removed from the public road have come back and have occupied footpath /public road again. This is usually the result when a party having no stake files public interest litigation and prays for an order", the affidavit says.

The NDMC says that if the affected parties would have approached the Court, they would have been bound by the status quo order.

The affidavit says that Jamiat Ulama-I-Hind is trying to communalise and sensationalist the issue. It says that the drive was a routine exercise undertaken pursuant to the orders of the Delhi High Court.

The affidavit points out, what it says are false claims of the petitioner with respect to the nature and extent of the demolition drive.

The affidavit also seeks to explain the continuance of the drive even after the Court passed the status quo order by stating that "it is a common experience that whenever the law enforcement agencies exercise their powers of removal of unauthorized projections and other encroachments under Section 322 of the Act, the affected parties mislead the authorities by wrongly contending that there is stay by some Competent Court. It is therefore that unless such a stay order is shown, the drive continues."

The affidavit also says that the officers on the site will not be looking at television or social media reports. It says that after some persons and reporters informed about the order, it was verified through the legal consultant and the drive was stopped at 12 noon. The affidavit says that debris from the demolition drive was removed even thereafter, to remove hindrance to traffic.

Click here to read/download Affidavit