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Delhi sealing: SC seeks detailed status of special task force

twitter-logoPTI | July 12, 2019 | Updated 21:25 IST

New Delhi, Jul 12 (PTI) The Supreme Court Friday sought details on the status of a special task force (STF), set up on its order, for overseeing enforcement of laws on unauthorised construction and removal of encroachments in Delhi. A bench of Justices Arun Mishra and Deepak Gupta was informed by senior counsel Ranjit Kumar, assisting the top court as an amicus curiae in the matter, that the Centre in its response to a report filed by a monitoring committee on sealing has sought scrapping of the panel itself. The Centre has taken this stand stating that the STF is already working and the court-mandated committee should not continue anymore, the amicus said. Kumar referred to the report filed in the apex court by the committee which stated, "All the actions of the STF depict that the STF has completely failed to deliver what was expected of it as there are heavy encroachments on pedestrian pathways, roads in addition to large scale illegal construction going on unabated." Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, said they have not responded to the monitoring committee's report in the way as told by Kumar. "Not the way in which Mr Ranjit Kumar says. We have reasons. It would need hearing," Mehta told the bench. The bench observed that the Centre cannot make such a prayer in its response to the monitoring committee's report. "Can it be done in a reply? It is not proper. No such prayer can be made in a reply. If you are serious, you can file a proper application," the bench told Mehta. Mehta told the court that they may file an appropriate application in a proper format in this regard and the court can hear the matter thereafter. The amicus told the court that since he has now received the replies filed by the Centre, Delhi Development Authority (DDA) and STF on the committee's report, he will file a small rejoinder. To this, the bench told the amicus, "You file a detailed note on the status of STF". The bench has posted the matter for hearing in the second week of August. The committee, in its report, has requested the court to "review the continuation of the STF which is adversely affecting the sealing operations by the monitoring committee". The top court is seized of the issue related to validity of the Delhi Laws (Special Provisions) Act, 2006 and subsequent legislations which protect unauthorised construction from being sealed. PTI ABA MNL SA

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