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Contempt notice to MCD Commissioner on Lajpat Rai Market issue

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, May 01 (UNI) The Delhi High Court today issued contempt notice to the MCD Commissioner for his failure to comply with an order pronounced in 1998 to demolish the illegal structures in and around the Lajpat Rai Market, the largest electrical goods shop complex in front of the historic Red Fort in the capital.

A division bench, headed by acting Chief Justice Vijender Jain, asked the MCD Commissioner, Deputy Commissioner of North Zone, Executive Engineer, Junior Engineer and SHO serving the area between 2000 and 2005 to file their replies by May 15, the next date of hearing.

On September 20, 1998, the Court in an order said, ''We consider it appropriate to direct that all unauthorised constructions in the Lajpat Rai Market shall cease from today. We order accordingly. The authorities will take immediate steps to implement this order.'' However, the MCD did not take concrete steps to remove the illegal structures except a cosmetic demolition drive in 1998.

The court had sought suggestion from the authorities in an order on April 30, 1998.''Whether the complex could be developed as a modern market complex with basement, parking as they exist in other parts of Delhi?'' But the MCD authorities have not filed any suggestion to the query till date.

The shops in the Lajpat Rai Market were allotted to the migrants from Pakistan after independence. However, the shopkeepers have dug up basements and raised illegal structures in and around the market complex.

One Rakesh Mahajan had filed a PIL on November 25, 1997 seeking direction of the court to the MCD for demolition of the illegal structures.

The Petitioner said that the market was a potential fire ball as most of the shops were selling electrical goods. Several shops had caught fire on May 24, 1997 and July 13, 1997, the petition said.

The court had also directed the authorities to provide adequate fire fighting measures at the market in the order pronounced in April 1998.


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