New Delhi, Apr 9 (PTI) The Delhi High Court today pulled up the owner of a heritage property in the walled city for converting a ‘haveli’ into a commercial complex.
After viewing recent photographs of the property placed before it by an objector following fresh construction on the structure, the court observed it was “no more a heritage”.
“You (owner) have filed the petition without any photographs. It is a very serious matter. This is what you have done to a ‘haveli’. It is no more a heritage,” a bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar said.
The matter relates to Haveli Number 590, Kucha Pati Ram, in Old Delhi’s Sitaram Bazar, which was notified as a heritage property by the Delhi Government in 2016.
The bench was hearing a plea by the property owner, represented through senior advocate Ravi Sikri, seeking the quashing of a March 19 demolition order of the front portion of the building.
The owner sought a stay on the demolition order of the North Delhi Municipal Corporation.
Kusum Sehgal, representative of an NGO, who is a petitioner against illegal and unauthorised constructions in various heritage buildings, including Haveli Number 590, in Old Delhi also filed an application to be allowed as an objector to the owner’s plea.
Advocate M Qayam Ud Din, who was appearing for Sehgal, said the owner had taken permission in the name of repairing the building but had instead done reconstruction work. They had built a three-storey building with flats and shops, he said.
The counsel said they had complained to various authorities, including the Delhi Police, North MCD Commissioner and the Delhi government’s culture secretary, that the heritage building had been demolished and converted into a commercial building comprising flats and shops but no action had been taken.
The court said it would further hear the matter on April 13, when the main petition challenging the illegal construction of various properties is listed.
On April 4, the high court had stayed the ongoing construction in Haksar Haveli, the centuries-old heritage building in Old Delhi, where India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru got married to Kamala Nehru.
The court was told the ‘haveli’ was on the verge of being destroyed by builders for their “financial lust”.
Nehru had married Kamala, who was residing with her family in Haksar Haveli, in Sitaram Bazar, on February 8, 1916.
The beauty of Haksar Haveli, which hosted ‘mushairas’ (poetry sessions) and musical programmes till even a few years ago, is being destroyed by the illegal and unauthorised construction being carried out on the premises, the court was earlier informed.
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.