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HC seeks authorities’ stand on plea against demolition of primary school for construction of mall

May 3, 2022

The Delhi High Court on Monday sought a response from the North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC), city government, and Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights on a PIL against the alleged demolition of a primary school in Karol Bagh to make space for the construction of commercial space and multi-level car parking facility.

A bench of Acting Chief Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Navin Chawla issued notice on the petition which also sought the stand of the entity undertaking the construction after succeeding in the bidding process with a quoted price of Rs 181 crore .

The petition by lawyer Amit Sahni contended that the land in question is designated for use as a school in the layout plan of the area and the same has not been amended therefore it is not at all permissible to construct a commercial building with shops and offices or to construct multi-level parking there.

The construction of the alleged multilevel car parking is arbitrary, unlawful, unreasonable, and in derogation of the principles contained in Article 14 of the Constitution, the petition further said.

In the garb of multilevel parking, in fact, a Mall containing Food Court, Shops and Offices is being constructed by Respondent No. 2 (construction company) by razing of the Primary School of MCD which has been in existence since 1927. The said plot of land is admittedly reserved for school use, and no land user change has been obtained for the said plot, the petition has stated.

The petitioner has informed that a primary school was running since 1927 but in 2019, NDMC stopped using that land and shifted the students to another smaller school.

The petitioner has further submitted that the premises was subsequently taken over by the Horticulture Department and has 43 trees that are 50 to 100 years old and would be demolished for the purposes of construction.

Being a mall with food court, shops, and offices, the project is not at all likely to reduce the congestion in the area or provide additional parking space, it further claimed.

The petition also emphasised that the primary school is for benefit of children in the age group of 4 years to 10 years, belonging primarily to the economically weaker section of society and are not expected to travel a longer distance and the conduct of the authorities is against the spirit of the Right to Education Act and smacks of commercialization.

The matter would be heard next on July 15.

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