The Supreme Court Wednesday said there is no reason to continue with the sealing of premises in Delhi on the ground of alleged unauthorised change of user from residential to commercial, if they were actually sold as shops.
A bench headed by Chief Justice SA Bobde observed this while hearing an application filed by a market welfare association which said that many shops, which were purchased by the owners for commercial use, have been sealed by the monitoring committee on the ground that there was unauthorised change of user from residential to commercial.
"If it is a fact that the premises, which have been sealed on the ground of unauthorised change of user from residential to commercial, was actually sold as a shop, we see no reason why the sealing should continue," said the bench, also comprising Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian.
The applicant said the allegation of unauthorised use is that the premises which have been sealed were originally purchased as residential units and have now been unauthorisedly converted to commercial use.
The counsel appearing for the petitioner said that these premises were originally purchased as shops.
"However, it is important to ascertain which of the premises which have been sealed were originally purchased as shops meant for commercial use. We accordingly consider it appropriate to direct that a list be prepared of all such premises which were originally purchased as shops and have now been sealed on the ground that residential premises have been converted unauthorisedly to commercial premises," the bench said in its order.
It said that advocate ADN Rao, who is assisting it as an amicus curiae in the matter, will scrutinize all relevant documents regarding original purchase of these premises.
Senior advocate Sanjiv Sen, appearing for South Delhi Municipal Corporation, sought permission to point out documents which would show the true status of shops in question when they were purchased.
"We permit the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) to do so," the bench said.
It said since the matter affects the livelihood of the members of association, the amicus may submit his report to the court within four weeks.
The top court had earlier ordered the restoration of its 2006 monitoring committee to identify and seal unauthorised structures in Delhi.
The monitoring committee, comprising KJ Rao, former advisor to the Election Commissioner, Bhure Lal, chairman of Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority, and Major General (Retd) Som Jhingan, was set up on March 24, 2006, by the court.