SC not happy with ordinance protecting shops

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New Delhi, Sep 21 (UNI) The new Ordinance promulgated by the Centre to protect commercial establishments from sealing as well as to protect encroachments and illegal constructions in Delhi is likely to face rough weather when it comes under the scrutiny of the Supreme Court.

Clear indications to this effect were available today when senior counsel Abhisek Manu Singhvi contended before the bench headed by Justice Arijit Pasayat that the hotel of his client should be allowed to continue as it was protected by the second Ordinance issued by the government which protects the hotel till December 31, 2008, the date till which the Ordinance will remain in force.

Justice Pasayat, reacting to the argument, told Mr Singhvi "if you feel that you are protected by the new Ordinance you may continue but if you are found violating the orders and directions of this court you will be hauled up for contempt of court." The Supreme Court had last month directed that all commercial establishments operating from about 1500 unauthorized and unregularised colonies in Delhi would stop functioning after three weeks.

In order to nullify the directions of the court, the government brought in this Ordinance and assured the people that no bulldozers will be used till December 31, 2008 and all encroachments like JJ clusters, slums, warehouses, Sainik farm houses and religious institutions shall remain untouched and there will ne no sealing in Delhi.

The Ordinance which came into force from May 19, 2007 has already been challenged in the Supreme Court on the ground that it protects all law-breakers and encroachers/land grabbers at the cost of law-abiding citizens of the national capital.

Unauthorized colonies have a population of about 40 lakh.

The apex court had, however, ruled that 24-category commercial shops shall continue to function as they meet the day-to-day requirement of the residents and small shops having a maximum area of not more than 20 square meters were also exempted from sealing.

The government and MCD were, however, not willing to go for sealing as they feared that it may lead to serious law and order problem. The Assembly elections in Delhi are due early next year and therefore, no political party is prepared to take the risk to annoy their votebanks.

The government has been repeatedly reprimanded by the court for not being able to check illegal constructions, illegal commercial activities in residential areas as well as encroachments in Delhi, leading to total anarchy and lawlessness in the national capital.

Former Chief Justice of India Y K Sabharwal, who earlier headed the sealing bench, is facing allegations of passing the orders of sealing to benefit his two sons.

UNI

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