SC stays for 2 weeks demolition of BJP MLA’s illegal construction in Roorkee

The Supreme Court on Saturday stayed for two weeks the demolition of an alleged illegal construction done by the BJP legislator from Roorkee, Pradeep Batra.

In a special sitting over the weekend, the SC bench, headed by Justice AM Khanwilkar, asked the MLA to approach the high court with his request to carry out demolition of all identified unauthorised constructions by himself.

The bench heard senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi on behalf of Batra, as the lawyer submitted that the MLA will himself pull down all illegal constructions after an inspection and identification by the Roorkee- Haridwar municipal authorities.

Rohatgi, assisted by advocate Gagan Gupta, also conceded that in case Batra fails to raze the unauthorised construction within a week of such identification by the municipal authorities, the officers would be free to forthwith demolish the same by taking help of local police force, if necessary.

Taking on record these submissions, the bench, which also included Justice BR Gavai, agreed to give two weeks’ time to the MLA for approaching the Uttarakhand High Court with a formal application in this regard.

The court ordered a status quo for two weeks but also clarified that it has not expressed any merit on Batra’s contentions. “It will be open to the High Court to accept the suggestion/proposal as made by the petitioners or to reject the same. We are not expressing any opinion either way on the merits of the said statement,” added the bench.

On December 24, the high court had paved way for demolishing a large part of Batra’s property in Roorkee, rejecting his plea that a request for settling the dispute after paying for the illegal construction, identified by the municipal authorities, is pending since 2017.

The high court noted that the authorities have on December 18 issued a demolition order and hence, there was no requirement to wait for disposal of Batra’s application to compound the irregularities.

The order had come on a public interest litigation (PIL) by one Gaurav Pundir in 2017. Pundir alleged that the MLA and his family had illegally constructed a building on a ‘Nazul’ land (land in government’s control) in Roorkee. The PIL had also stated that various notices and orders on illegal constructions were issued to Batra by the municipal authorities since 2015 but the MLA went ahead with further constructions.

Subsequently, the high court heard Batra’s contentions and also the municipal authorities before giving a go ahead for the demolition.

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