The Delhi High Court on Wednesday restrained the CBI from proceeding with the order of Lokpal directing an investigation against the officials of MCD and other departments for allowing unauthorised construction in South Delhi and other areas. The order of Lokpal was challenged by the MCD.
Justice Prathiba M Singh said, “Considering the issue raised by the petitioner, issue notice to the respondents, short affidavit be filed within 4 weeks and rejoinder within two weeks.”
“The CBI shall not proceed with the impugned order of the Lokpal,” justice Singh said.
However, the court said that there would be no interdiction on the inquiry related to unauthorised construction in South Delhi and other parts of Delhi.
This is only the prima facie view and shall not have any bearing on the merit of the case, the court said. The matter has been listed on April 25 for further hearing.
The High Court noted the contention of senior advocate Sandeep Sethi appearing for the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) that before directing the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to initiate investigation against the public servants of MCD, the Lokpal required the prior permission of the Delhi Government.
The high court also noted that there was not any inquiry conducted by the CVC or the Lokpal in the matter. The CVC was merely asked to obtain report from the vigilance department of the MCD in relation to unauthorised construction.
On the other hand advocate Apoorv Kurup appearing for the Lokpal submitted that before the investigation, notice was issued and reply was filed. Being unsatisfied with the reply, the order for investigation was issued.
The civic body has challenged the direction of the Lokpal for CBI investigation against the officer of civic body.
The high court on December 23 refused to stay the order of the Lokpal of India directing a CBI investigation against MCD officials.
The Lokpal ordered the CBI investigation on the basis of a complaint against alleged illegal and unauthorised constructions in Delhi.
During the hearing senior advocate Sandeep Sethi appearing for the petitioner submitted that the body like MCD, which is partially funded by the state government, its consent has to be taken.
The bench earlier had said, “The Lokpal consists of three members with a retired high court judge… Once the Lokpal has considered the matter, there are some reasons. I have to hear them.. If you make out a case on the next date, I will stay the proceedings.”
The counsel for MCD had argued that nobody would be able to do their work if CBI investigation is ordered in a case such as the present one and by the same logic, an investigation should also be ordered against the police for crime in Delhi.
While expressing its concern, the court had said, “MCD can’t be equated with Delhi police. Its engineers are a problem. Unauthorised construction, encroachment, everything takes place. Something has to be done.”
The Lokpal initiated the proceedings on a complaint filed by Vikram Singh Saini, a former General Secretary of Samajwadi Yuvjan Sabha. He lodged a complaint in December 2021 and alleged that certain “illegal constructions” in South Delhi were because of their (Engineers) conduct.
On the other hand, MCD had refuted the allegations and its petition claimed that the complainant filed a “frivolous, baseless and vague complaint” to the Lokpal. There are no allegations of corrupt activities.
The petition stated that the Lokpal passed a “blanket order” on the basis of an “incoherent and general complaint” with respect to illegal constructions in South Delhi in 2020-21.
The petition said the data depicts a “steady decline” in unauthorised constructions in the south zone and the officials have been discharging their duties effectively.
“This fact is also evident from the data from the year 2018. It shows that out of 1,141 properties booked, 606 were demolished, 223 were sealed, prosecution in 326 and letter in all such properties were duly issued,” the petition said.
The MCD has contended that the order passed by the Lokpal violated the principles of natural justice as the investigation was ordered against MCD officials who were not party before it.
This report is filed by ANI news service. TheNewsMill holds no responsibility for this content.