Passing stringent strictures against the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) and its seven officials, a Delhi court has directed the municipal body to rebuild a house in south Delhi’s Sainik Farms which was demolished in 2007 in violation of laws.
Additional Sessions Judge Neera Bharihoke passed the order on a suit filed by house owner Ashok Sikka, submitting that his house was demolished by the SDMC in violation of the Delhi Laws (Special Provisions) Act, 2006, under which it was protected from demolition and without serving him a notice.
₹50 lakh for damage
Allowing his plea, the judge said the civic body also has the option to pay ₹1.5 crore to Mr. Sikka. The court also asked the SDMC to pay him ₹50 lakh for the damage he suffered due to the demolition. “A decree... is passed in favour of the plaintiff [house owner] and against defendants no. 1, 4 to 9 [SDMC and its officials] with direction to restore the... property status quo ante as prevailing on May 22, 2007, in relation to suit property and the cost of the same shall be borne by defendants no. 1, 4 to 9 jointly and severally.”
“The suit property shall be entitled to all those privileges and protections even in respect of tax liabilities, and exemptions which it was enjoying before May 22, 2007, or would have enjoyed from May 22, 2007, till date as well as in future as if the suit property was never demolished and rebuilt and shall be treated as a building which was constructed prior to the year 2000,” the judge said. Directing them to complete the construction within one year, she added that “in the alternative, defendants no. 1, 4 to 9 are directed to pay ₹1.5 crore jointly and severally to the plaintiff to be paid within one month of the date of decree towards construction of the suit property.”
10% interest rate
“A decree of ₹50 lakh with interest at the rate of 10% per annum from the date of demolition till the recovery of this amount is passed in favour of the plaintiff and against the defendants no. 1, 4 to 9 to be paid by them jointly and severally to the plaintiff towards damages suffered by the plaintiff consequent to unauthorised demolition action taken against the suit property by the defendants no. 1, 4 to 9,” the judge ordered.
“Decretal amount, including interest, be paid by defendants no. 1, 4 to 9 within 30 days from today [Thursday], failing which the plaintiff will be entitled to recover additional amount of ₹20,000 per month to be recovered from defendant no. 1, 4 to 9 jointly and severally till the whole amount is so paid by them,” she said.