Ganesh Kumar Gupta, whose juice shop was razed in Delhi’s Jahangirpuri during a demolition drive last month, was notified of the government action before the bulldozer rolled in, the North Delhi Municipal Corporation told the Supreme Court today, adding that the due process of law was followed after no response came in from the owner.
The Corporation was replying to a plea filed by Ganesh Gupta in the Supreme Court seeking compensation. Gupta maintained that his shop was authorized and had all necessary licenses.
“Only the first floor of the juice shop, which did not have valid permission, was made unusable by the corporation,” the NDMC said.
The civic body stated that before demolishing Gupta’s shop a show cause notice, dated March 31, 2022, was served to the owner, Shakuntala Devi, to submit documents about the legality of the structure within a week, failing which action would be taken. However, the owner did not file any reply to the showcase notice.
It was stated that as part of the demolition drive on April 20, sacks of garbage, projections on public land and temporary structures beyond the boundary of houses and shops were removed. For this action, no notice was required to be served under the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act, the affidavit stated.
On April 20, the Supreme Court had ordered status quo on the demolition drive that took place in the riot-hit area.
The Court was hearing a batch of pleas, including one filed by Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind seeking directions to the central and state governments that no residential accommodation or commercial property should be demolished as a punitive measure.
Ganesh Gupta submitted that the shop was allotted by Delhi authorities in 1977-78 and he has since then been regularly paying the necessary fees and tax. On the day of the demolition, he tried to show all the required documents but authorities paid no heed to his requests and his shop was damaged, Gupta said in the petition. Following this, Gupta sought immediate intervention of the Court to tackle the extrajudicial measures employed by the state.
The petitioner also submitted that the Supreme Court’s order to halt the demolition was flouted by the Municipal Corporation, indicating a complete breakdown of democratic institutions and the rule of law in India.
The hearing in the case has been slated for July now.
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