Cannot encroach upon property in charity's name: Delhi High Court
NEW DELHI: Encroachment on public property in the name of doing charity is not permissible, the Delhi High Court observed on Monday while expressing its displeasure over "unauthorised" construction in a graveyard here.
The court rejected the claim of a person, accused of carrying out unauthorised construction on a waqf property, that an orphanage was being run in the premises, housing over 70 children, and that no commercial activity was going on there.
"You cannot encroach even to house other people. Charity begins at home. So, do charity at your home. You cannot encroach upon property of others and say we are doing charity.
It is not permissible," a bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar said.
The bench said mere occupation and trespass make no legal right.
"Nowhere in the world you can file a suit and say I am an encroacher and I want my right over property. What education are you providing to students with your admitted trespass? The land belongs to this country and you expect sympathy from us.
It is like stealing somebody's money and saying I am distributing it among poor people," the court said.
The judiciary also pulled up the civic authorities for allowing unauthorised construction, stating "You permit people to encroach and then seek adjournment to file reply".
The bench was hearing a PIL by a residents welfare association of Hazrat Nizamuddin Basti, seeking direction to the Delhi Waqf Board, Centre, Delhi Government and Delhi Police to take action against an individual and Jamia Arabia Nizamia Welfare Education Society.
The Society is accused of carrying out unauthorised construction on public land, housing a graveyard, mosque and a dome-type structure, situated on the main Mathura road in the national capital.
The court directed the authorities to file its response to the plea and a report on the inspection of the site.
It listed the matter for January 12 next year.
The petition in the case had claimed that any construction in the graveyard hurts religious sentiments and was a cognisable offence under the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
It also said that illegal construction could not be allowed in the garb of managing affairs of a mosque or graveyard, or convert a public land into a private property for self-interest.
The petition had also sought a direction to the authorities to remove the unauthorised construction and to the Delhi Waqf Board to manage the premises.