Supreme Court of India
Supreme Court of India

Monitoring Committee not authorised to take action concerning residential premises on private land: SC on Delhi sealing

ANI | Updated: Aug 14, 2020 20:30 IST

New Delhi [India], Aug 14 (ANI): The Supreme Court on Friday held that the Monitoring Committee, set up in 2006 to check the encroachment and misuse of residential property in Delhi, is not authorised to take action concerning residential premises situated on private land.
A three-judge bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra and also comprising of Justices BR Gavai and Krishna Murari directed that the properties sealed by the committee's report in May last year be unsealed and possession be restored to owners forthwith.
"Let the property sealed as per Report No.149 be desealed, and possession be restored to the owners forthwith. Let this order be complied with within three days," the bench said in its order.
The bench said that the at no point in time was the Monitoring Committee empowered to take action with respect to residential premises not used for commercial purpose.
The apex court made the observations in its verdict dealing with the authority of the Monitoring Committee to seal the residential premises on the private land, particularly when they are not being used for commercial purpose.

"No doubt that matter of encroachment is a matter of concern, but the Monitoring Committee can act within the four corners of powers conferred upon it and purpose for which the court appointed the Monitoring Committee. It cannot exceed its powers and take any action beyond its authorisation by the court," the order said.
Referring to the Committee's report dated April 2, 2019, concerning specific unauthorised constructions allegedly carried out in the Vasant Kunj and Rajokari area, the court held that these constructions were not on public land.
Noting the submission that a letter was received from the Sub Divisional Magistrate, Mehrauli regarding unauthorised construction in Vasant Kunj, the top court said that Monitoring Committee could not have acted based on any such letter.
"It was not permissible for the Monitoring Committee to act in the matter. May be that it acted under some confusion created by the letter. Be that as it may. We do not want to go further into the matter of bona fide. However, it is apparent that its action was beyond the purpose for which it had been appointed," the order said.
"We are not going into the merits of the other submissions, whether the premises are authorised or unauthorised, can be regularised or not, compounding can be done, or whether there is any deviation made. The report of the Monitoring Committee and findings recorded by it are of no use as it had no such authority to go into the various questions," it added.
The court also clarify that its order does not mean to belittle the yeomen service done by the Monitoring Committee for protection of Delhi and also appreciated the "selfless service" by Ranjit Kumar, who was assisting the court as Amicus Curiae, with unflinching hard work and dedication along with his team for the last 24 years. (ANI)