New Delhi, May 29 (PTI) The Delhi High Court has rapped the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) for their failure to give a temporary site to the artisans who come to the national capital to make and sell idols or effigies of Ravana used during Dussehra festival. Also Read - WhatsApp Policy Row: It's Voluntary, Use Some Other App if Not Acceptable, Says Delhi High Court

A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar said it was “shocking” that despite repeated orders of the court, the Delhi government and the corporation were unable to take a simple decision as to where the artisans would set up their units during the festival season. Also Read - Delhi High Court Allows Opening of Spas in National Capital with Appropriate Safe Guards

“Nearly a year has gone by and you could not decide where you can locate the artisans to build their idols and effigies. It is a shocking state of affairs that despite our repeated orders, you have been unable to take a simple decision or frame a policy on where to locate the artisans for making idols or effigies for religious events,” the court said. Also Read - Delhi HC Makes Exception, Allows 28-Week Pregnant Woman to Terminate Her Foetus

The bench also observed that the delay in taking a decision “speaks volumes about your (Delhi government and SDMC) competence”.

It warned the Delhi government and the corporation that if they failed to take a decision or frame a policy before the next date of hearing on July 10, then the Commissioner of SDMC and Principal Secretary of Department of Urban Development shall be present in court.

The court had on September 25 last year directed the Delhi government and the SDMC to formulate a policy for allocating land for the work of artisans who come here to make and sell their wares such as idols and effigies during the festivals.

The court had said that the plan would also consider providing temporary housing and sanitary facilities to the workers.

The bench had also directed the payment of Rs 2,500 as token damages to eight artisans who had suffered loss due to the SDMC’s alleged act of demolishing and confiscating some of the effigies.

The corporation had also allegedly demolished the temporary shelters set up by the workers.

The order had come on a PIL initiated by the court on its own after it came across a news report saying that several Ravana effigies, built by artisans who came here from Rajasthan for Dussehra, were destroyed or confiscated by the South Delhi Municipal Corporation for allegedly encroaching on public land.

The court had also appointed an amicus curiae to visit Titarpur area in west Delhi, where the craftsmen were working to assess the losses suffered by them.

Defending its action taken between September 15 and 18, 2017, the SDMC had claimed that it had received a letter from the Delhi Metro that the artisans had taken over land and were blocking the main road in the Titarpur area.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.