Unauthorized occupants of dharmshalas and jhuggis be removed from the Kalkaji Mandir premises within 48 hours; Delhi High Court directs arrangements for Navratri

Delhi High Court

Delhi High Court: In multiple petitions filed pertaining to various issues of Kalkaji Mandir, Prathiba M Singh, J. directed arrangements for Navratris starting from 22-03-2023.

On the aspect of removal of unauthorized occupants from dharmshalas and jhuggis in the Kalkaji Mandir, the Court noted that Supreme Court ordered vacating the dharmshalas till 15-03-2023, beyond which date, the authorities were given the liberty to take the possession forcibly which stands expired. Thus, the unauthorized occupants of dharmshalas and jhuggis shall now be removed from the Kalkaji Mandir premises by the SHO, Kalkaji within 48 hours and no further time shall be granted to any unauthorized occupant.

In one of the other matters relating to the 10th Report of the Administrator that temporary shops complex has been lying vacant since November 2022 as most of the shopkeepers have expressed inability to pay the tehbazari amount fixed by the Court for small shops. The Court noted that the Kalkaji Mandir is substantial as thousands of devotees who visit the Mandir daily. Thus, considering the various factors, I.e., the tehbazari amounts historically paid, the number of visitors, the deliberations with the allottees, the report of the administrator recommending the amount and the future prospect and enjoyment by allottees of the shops, the Court opined that the tehbazari is not liable to be reduced any further.

Thus, the Court held that the shop allottees who are unwilling to pay the tehbazari amount fixed by the Court, their allotments shall stand cancelled and a public auction to be conducted of both the small and large temporary shops, on a license basis, without giving any priority to the earlier allotees whatsoever.

The Court directed the following arrangements:

  1. The Delhi Police shall deploy the requisite number of police personnel in three shifts along with barricades for the management of the crowd as also to ensure access to the Kalkaji Mandir premises in an orderly manner. It shall be the responsibility of the Delhi Police to ensure that there is no stampede, or any such kind of heavy crowding situation and the crowd is managed properly.

  2. Two ambulances and two fire brigades shall also be made available to tender to any emergency in the mandir during the Navratris.

  3. The Health Department GNCTD, and SDM, Kalkaji shall deploy 100 Civil Defence volunteers in two shifts each, in the morning and evening as also one doctor and two paramedics.

  4. Delhi Jal Board shall ensure that there is continuous supply of potable drinking water to the Piyaos within the Mandir. It shall also be ensured that there is no blockage or leakage in the drains around the Mandir.

  5. Bombay Suburban Electric Supply (BSES) is directed to ensure that there is uninterrupted supply of electricity to Mandir during the period. A letter dated 01-03-2023, has already been sent by the Administrator to BSES for the aforesaid purpose.

  6. Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB) shall deploy sixteen mobile toilets along with the requisite staff to ensure proper cleanliness of the said toilets.

  7. Public Works Department (PWD) as also the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) shall repair the wall on the outer ring roadside on the periphery of the Kalkaji Mandir which is stated to be broken at numerous places, and the fence separating the DDA land from the Mandir premises area respectively.

  8. In order to meet the requirements of the devotees during the Navratri period, for the period between 22-03-2023 to 30-03-2023, all the small temporary shops shall be permitted to be used for selling of samagri, prashad and other pooja related items upon the payment of tehbazari of Rs.10,000/- for the nine days period. For aforesaid purpose, the existing allottees, if willing, may be permitted to sell their wares during the nine days navratri period on advance payment of the amount fixed by the Court. The said permission to the allottees is purely temporary in nature and only for the nine-days period. No rights shall accrue to them for operating the shops during this period. An undertaking to this effect shall also be obtained.

  9. The parking in the Kalkaji Mandir premises shall be regulated by the Delhi Police during the navratri period along with the MCD. For the said purpose, the Administrator may give directions to the MCD agency concerned. As an interim arrangement, the revenue generated during the entire period from the parking shall be deposited by the MCD into the account of the Administrator, after deducting the amounts incurred by the said agencies.

[Neeta Bharadwaj v Kamlesh Sharma, 2023 SCC OnLine Del 1610, decided on 15-03-2023]

Advocates who appeared in this case :

Mr. Arun Birbal, Mr. Sanjay Singh & Ms. Sonia Singhania, Advocates for DDA, Mr. Neeraj Bhardwaj & Mr. Rahul Bhardwaj, Advocates, Mr. Lokesh Bhardwaj, Advocate, Mr. Kush Bhardwaj, Advocate, Ms. Samapika Biswal and Mr. Aman Kumar Yadav, Advocates for the Administrator, Mr. Zoheb Hossain, Amicus Mr. Luv Bhardwaj, Advocate, Mr. Siddharth Panda and Mr. Ritank, Advs. for SDMC;

Mr. Thakur Sumit, Advocate. Mr. Vishal Bhardwaj, Advocate Mr. Ishkaran Singh, Advocate for 19 shopkeepers;

Mr. Paul Kumar Kalai and Mr. Kaoliangpov Kamei, Advs for Petitioner;

Mr Prabhas Chandra, Advocate. Mr. R.K. Bhardwaj, Advocate, Mr. Rajmangal Kumar, Mr. Goonmeet Singh, Architect. Mr. Rakesh Kumar, SHO. Mr. Rajeev Kumar Chauhan, Advocate for Unregistered Vendors. Ms. Himanshi Kaushik, Architect. Mr. S. Sasibhushan, Advocate.

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