Delhi High Court directs SDMC and ASI to look into illegal construction near Qutub Minar

The Delhi High Court has directed the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and the zonal deputy commissioner of the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) to look into the matter of dereliction of duties and fix responsibility to the officers, after noting unauthorized constructions within 40 meters of Qutub Minar, an ASI-protected monument.

Justice Najmi Waziri, heard a plea by Rishi Sehdev on December 23, and stated that the construction has been carried out in such a large area and this could not have escaped the attention of either the police, the ASI or the corporation.

During the hearing, the counsel for SDMC told the court that permission for construction was taken from the civic body and the ASI on the basis of “misrepresentation of facts and fabrication of documents. They also stated that during the construction only one full grown tree has been cut.

To this above contention, Justice Waziri stated that it is “odd” because permission cannot be granted for any construction within the prohibited zone of 100 metres near a protected monument. This illegal construction has taken place roughly 40 metres from the Qutub Minar, a world-famous, protected monument.
The courts also observed through timeline of google photos submitted by the petitioner that several trees had been felled for this purpose.

After the hearing, the court directed the concerned zonal deputy commissioner and the director general of ASI ought to look into the matter. It also directed that the Deputy Commissioner of Police to look into the matter with respect to the role of police.
The court further directed the authorities to file affidavits, along with photographs and relevant documents, within four weeks and posted the matter for further hearing on February 17, 2021.

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