Unauthorized Buildings in South Delhi: High Court restrains CBI from Executing Lokpal order

South Delhi, Delhi High Court

The Delhi High Court has restrained the CBI from implementing the orders of the Lokpal to investigate MCD officials responsible for allowing unauthorized buildings in South Delhi and other areas. The Delhi High Court passed the order on Wednesday on a petition filed by MCD challenging the Lokpal order. 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.”
He further added, “The CBI shall not proceed with the impugned order of the Lokpal.”
However, the court stated that there would be no halt to the investigation into unauthorised construction in South Delhi and other parts of the city.
The court stated that this is only a prima facie view and has no bearing on the merits of the case. The case has been listed for further hearing on April 25.
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 further pointed out that neither the CVC nor the Lokpal had conducted an investigation into the situation. The MCD’s vigilance department was only required to provide the CVC with a report regarding unauthorised building.
On the other hand, advocate Apoorv Kurup, who appeared for Lokpal, stated that prior to the investigation, a notice was issued and a reply was filed. Because the response was unsatisfactory, an investigation was ordered.

The civic body has challenged the Lokpal’s order for a CBI investigation into a civic body officer.
On December 23, the high court refused to stay the Lokpal of India’s order directing a CBI investigation into MCD officials.
On the basis of a complaint about alleged illegal and unauthorised constructions in Delhi, Lokpal directed the CBI to conduct an investigation.
During the hearing, senior advocate Sandeep Sethi, appearing for the petitioner, submitted that the MCD, which is partially funded by the state government, must give its consent.
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 argued that if a CBI investigation is ordered in a case like this one, no one will be able to do their jobs, and that by the same logic, an investigation should 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 investigation after a complaint was filed by Vikram Singh Saini, a former General Secretary of the Samajwadi Yuvjan Sabha. In December 2021, he filed a complaint alleging that certain “illegal constructions” in South Delhi were the result of their (Engineers’) conduct.
MCD, on the other hand, had refuted the allegations, claiming in its petition that the complainant had made a “frivolous, baseless, and vague complaint” to the Lokpal. There are no allegations of illegal actions.
According to the petition, the Lokpal issued a “blanket order” in 2020-21 based on a “incoherent and general complaint” about illegal constructions in South Delhi.
According to the petition, the data shows a “steady decline” in unauthorised constructions in the south zone, and the officials have been doing 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 Lokpal’s order violated natural justice principles because the investigation was ordered against MCD officials who were not parties before it.

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