Night Shelters Can't Permanently Operate From Public Parks: Delhi High Court

On Thursday, the counsel for MCD said it has taken possession of the two parks and opened them to the public for limited timings during the day.

Night Shelters Can't Permanently Operate From Public Parks: Delhi High Court

The court listed the matter for further hearing on April 10. (File)

New Delhi:

Observing that a night shelter cannot permanently operate from a public park, the Delhi High Court Thursday told the city civic authority to ask the Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB) to vacate the space it has occupied in Urdu park near Jama Masjid.

A bench headed by Acting Chief Justice Manmohan said a night shelter in a public park can only be a "temporary phenomenon" otherwise all green cover will be lost, and asked the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) to write to DUSIB to vacate the park by March.

"Tell them you gave it for limited time. Tell them they have to find an alternative accommodation. (They) Can't occupy public park. Write to them to vacate the rain basera (night shelter). Tell them you require green spaces," the bench, also comprising Justice Mini Pushkarna, told the MCD counsel.

"Find a land for yourself wherever you want. It can be a temporary phenomenon to deal with emergencies... we will lose all green cover to this. You have to shift to alternative space. Dont occupy green area like this," the court told the DUSIB lawyer.

The high court was hearing a plea by Mohd Arslan on encroachments in public parks around Jama Masjid in old Delhi.

At the last hearing, the court had questioned the MCD for not taking possession of two public parks --North park and South park-- next to Jama Masjid in old Delhi, saying a statutory authority cannot lose possession of public parks.

On Thursday, the counsel for MCD said it has taken possession of the two parks and opened them to the public for limited timings during the day.

The court had earlier said that open spaces and green cover provide the much needed breathing zones for people when they are grappling with the hazardous scenario of ever increasing pollution, and the move to lock the gates of a public park and denying access to the public is "totally unacceptable".

The court listed the matter for further hearing on April 10. 

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