Millennium Post

Pay Rs 1.5 crore or rebuild demolished home: Court to SDMC

NEW DELHI: Lambasting some former and existing MCD officials for "demonstrating colourful misuse of power" by illegally demolishing a man's house in Sainik Farms, a Delhi court has directed them to build a quality home for him or pay him Rs 1.5 crore within a month.
It also asked the South Delhi Municipal Corporation(SDMC) to pay the owner Rs 50 lakh compensation for the loss of "reputation, accommodation and valuables".
Additional District Judge Neera Bharihoke decided the suit in favour of plaintiff Ashok Sikka, whose house was demolished without any notice on May 23, 2007, and pulled up the authority saying its officials went outside their prescribed scope of duties and took illegal gratification.
Sikka's house was one of 21 properties partly chosen in 2000 for demolition in Sainik Farms in South Delhi.
In its over 100-page judgement, the court noted that the SDMC did not serve the owner a notice to vacate the premises under the provisions of Delhi Municipal Corporation (DMC) Act which is "a standard procedure adopted by MCD in relation to occupied properties being subjected to demolition."
"The defendants 4-9 (former MCD commissioners and engineers) conspired to cause wrongful loss to the plaintiff and he suffered in this whole process whereby life-time earnings were destroyed by the defendant without sanction authority of law and only due to their illegal activities.
"The facts of the case demonstrate a colourful misuse of power by defendant one (SDMC) and its office bearers," the judge said in the order.
She also observed that the property was protected from demolition under Delhi Laws (Special Provision) Act, 2006.
It said the SDMC officials "in blatant disregard to the law and procedure" and without any authority or court order with intention to deprive the owner of his lawful possession of the property, "trespassed" into the same on May 23, 2007 early morning.
The illegal and unauthorised demolition was carried out from May 23-26 and on May 30, 2007 and Sikka and his family were evicted, the court said.
"The plaintiff has been suffering the brunt of illegal and unauthorised demolition at the hands of defendants 1, 4 to 9 since 2007... the plaintiff is entitled to restoration of suit property by restoring status quo ante as prevailing on May 22, 2007 in relation to suit property and the cost of the reconstruction shall be borne by the defendants 1, 4-9 jointly and severally," it said.
"The court can take judicial notice of the kind of trauma and misfortune the plaintiff must have gone through at the relevant time," it said.
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