HC restrains ASI from razing structure in Swamy`s residence

Delhi High Court restrained ASI from taking "coercive steps" in its notice issued to Janata Party President Subramanian Swamy and his family for demolition of illegal construction in their residence.

Last Updated: Apr 15, 2013, 19:06 PM IST

New Delhi: Delhi High Court on Monday restrained the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) from taking "coercive steps" in pursuance of its notice issued to Janata Party President Subramanian Swamy and his family for demolition of alleged illegal construction raised in their residence here.
"No coercive steps be taken in pursuance of the demolition notice issued on April 2," a bench of justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Indermeet Kaur said.

The court also asked the ASI to file a reply to Swamy`s plea within four weeks and fixed it for hearing on August 5.

Meanwhile, the court also took note of "belated" issuance of demolition notice to Swamy`s family members against alleged illegal constructions on the second floor of the house and for which, MCD had already levied the compounding charges.

"File details as to how many houses have been inspected (by the ASI) and how many notices have been issued in the (Nizamuddin) area," the court said after Swamy contended the ASI has been taking such a step without any legal reason.

The court, which also asked the ASI to provide a map of the area to Swamy, was hearing the plea of the leader against the demolition notice issued in respect of alleged illegal construction in his residence here.

The ASI has maintained that the house, jointly owned by Swamy`s lawyer wife Roxna and their two daughters, was within 28 metres of `Arab Ki Sarai`, a protected ancient monument, at Nizamuddin area in south Delhi.

The ASI alleged that Swamy`s family members have violated a provision of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Rules by raising the illegal structure.

Earlier, another bench of the court had asked the ASI to "recall" all earlier show cause notices issued Swamy and his family members.

It had disposed of the plea by asking the ASI to issue a fresh notice giving details and discussing the objections raised by Swamy and his family members.

The court had said that instead of issuing a show cause notice, a demolition order was passed without giving Swamy and others an opportunity to reply.

During the hearing, Swamy today said his wife and two daughters had purchased a plot, measuring 200 square yards, at Nizamuddin in 1997 and had made an application, in 2009, with the ASI seeking its NOC for some construction in the building.

The ASI, however, rejected the plea on November 17, 2009 saying it was within 28 meters Arab Ki Sarai, which forms part of the prohibited area, he said.

Several notices were served on Swamy and his family by the ASI and later, they were recalled following the High Court order which asked the ASI to serve a fresh one and pass a resoned order by giving them an opportunity to present their case.

The ASI, on April 2, issued a fresh demolition notice against which Swamy moved the court today.