The Supreme Court, today, extended the time till August 10, 2024, to vacate the premises at Rouse Avenue which was allotted to the Delhi High Court in September 2020 but encroached by the Aam Aadmi Party ('AAP') as its party office.

An Application was filed by the AAP seeking modification of an order passed by the Supreme Court on March 4, 2024, granting time till June 15, 2024, to vacate the said premises and for an extension of time to vacate on or before August, 2024.

The Vacation Bench of Justice Vikram Nath and Justice Sandeep Mehta ordered, "This is an application seeking modification of an order dated March 4, 2024, seeking extension of time to vacate the premises...Rouse Avenue, New Delhi on or before the 10th of August, 2024. Considering the facts and circumstances of the case and submissions made in advance, we extend the time granted by the order date March 4, 2024, to vacate the premises till 10th of August 2024, on an undertaking to be given by the Applicant within a week from today before the Registry of this Court that they shall hand over the vacant and peaceful possession to the premises in question on or before 10th of August 2024. Application stands disposed of."

Advocate K Parameshwar appearing on behalf of the Delhi High Court, submitted, "They were given time till 15th of June...This land was allotted to the Delhi High Court in September 2020 and we have not been able to take possession of this land…every year our building cost is been escalated by 13 to 14%. So what we are requesting is till August, if your lordships may consider...that should be the last opportunity."

The Bench said, "The Delhi High Court itself has directed the Government of India or the State officer to give them an alternative plot of land."

Parameshwar replied, "That's between the central government and the political party, we are not concerned with that. We have not been able to get possession of this land for past 4 years and we have a shortage of 90 courtrooms. Training is getting over in September. If Your Lordships are extending, give them as a last and final opportunity…Now we are in a situation where we have to rent buildings for putting our judicial officers and running our courtrooms. This tussle will continue, we don't want to suffer because of this tussle."

Senior Advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Advocate Prateek Chadha appeared for the AAP and sought an extension to vacate the portion of a plot allotted to the Delhi High Court which was encroached on by the AAP.

On March 4, 2024, the Supreme Court had ordered, "In view of the impending General Elections, we grant the Aam Aadmi Party time until 15 June 2024 to vacate the premises so that the land which has been allotted for the purpose of expanding the footprint of the district judiciary can be duly utilized on an expeditious basis...The High Court is in urgent need of the allotment of alternative premises for housing the new recruits for which court rooms are not available. The Court is apprised of the fact that the MTNL building which was earlier explored as an option has been found to be unsuitable. We direct the Chief Secretary of GNCTD to come out with an alternate proposal within a period of two weeks and communicate it to the learned Acting Chief Justice of the High Court of Delhi."

Previously, the Supreme Court had also said, "During the course of hearing, we have been apprised of the unresolved issues pertaining to the projects of the Delhi High Court pertaining to the infrastructural requirements of the District Judiciary. Despite the previous order of this Court, those issues have not been resolved. The Court is apprised of the fact that an office of a political party has encroached on a portion of a plot at Rouse Avenue which has been allotted to the High Court."

The Court had directed the Chief Secretary of the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi, the Secretary Charge of the Public Works Department and the Finance Secretary to convene a meeting together with the Registrar General of the High Court so that all outstanding issues were settled without waiting for further directions.

Recently, the Delhi High Court had also directed the Central Government to consider the representation filed by the AAP seeking temporary allocation of space for its office in Dayal Upadhyay (DDU) Marg on account of being recognised as a national party.

Cause Title: Malik Mazhar Sultan v. UP Public Service Commission (Civil Appeal No.1867/2006)