Millennium Post

SC gives Gole Market shopkeepers no respite from eviction

Shopkeepers of Gole Market who are facing eviction from their shops by the end of this month, failed to get any relief from the Supreme Court on Thursday. After the Delhi High Court refused to stall the impending eviction, the shopkeepers had approached the apex court. The deadline for the shopkeepers to hand over the possession of their shops to New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC), as per their affidavit in the Delhi high court, is 30 June.

Earlier, the shopkeepers had lost the battle in the Delhi High Court, which had dismissed the appeal of the shopkeepers against a single bench order of the Court, which had refused to give relief to the shopkeepers, after New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) told the court that as of now it has no intention to develop Gole Market as a commercial property and intends to develop it as a museum.

The shopkeepers had approached the High Court contending that NDMC had not taken any decision despite the observations made by the division bench of the court that they have to take a decision on whether or not to convert the heritage Gole Market building into a museum and therefore, unless the said decision is taken, the shopkeepers may not be evicted from the said market. However, a double bench of the High Court, which was hearing an appeal against a single judge judgment dated 21 May, 2013, dismissed the appeal of the shopkeepers. The court had also taken note of the unconditional undertakings to the court by the shopkeepers that they would hand over peaceful possession of their shops/offices on or before 30 June, 2013.
The undertakings tendered by the appellants was accepted by the court by order of the High court dated 22 May, 2013. 'In view of the affidavit filed by the respondent (NDMC), it is clear that as far as the undertakings given by the appellants to vacate the property on or before 30 June, 2013 is concerned, this court is of the view that the same is binding upon the appellants, as the learned single judge has accepted their undertakings which was unconditionally tendered by the appellants themselves. Thus, no advantage whatsoever can be derived by the appellants to not vacate the property in case the respondent is not able to take the decision in respect of development of the area as a museum,' the double bench of the High Court had observed.

The High Court, however, had also said regarding the challenge made by the petitioner to the affidavit filed by NDMC in court on 5 June, 2013, that 'it is open to the appellants to initiate any action which is permissible under law in case it is found that the respondent intends anytime to develop Gole Market as commercial property.'
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