Sealing in New Delhi put off until Monday

Thursday, November 2, 2006

Correction — November 9, 2006
The article incorrectly reports that the "opposition parties opposed" the HC notice on exempting Lal Deora areas from building bylaws. The article should read, BJP Municipal corporators opposed some provisions of resolutions passed by the MCD on March 13 urging postponement of demolition and sealing of buildings. The error is regretted.

The Group of Ministers which is overseeing the issue has decided not to resume the sealing of unauthorised commercial establishments until Monday. The decision came after seeing the current tense situation in New Delhi.

The Group of Ministers is headed by Home minister Shivraj Patil and comprised of Law minister H R Bhardwaj, Delhi CM Sheila Dikhit, Union Urban Development minister S Jaipal Reddy and his deputy Ajay Makan.

S Jaipal Reddy told reporters that it is very difficult to conduct the sealing drive in the city under these circumstances. He made the statement after a meeting of Group of Ministers.

The Supreme Court had already sent the notice to Municipal Corporation of Delhi to resume the sealing drive from Thursday. They will approach the apex court on Friday and will apprise the court about the difficulties in carrying out the sealing drive in these circumstances where the traders are going on strike and creating situation of tension in the capital.

Supreme Court's Monitoring committee called on the MCD to resume the sealing of unauthorised shops in the city on Friday.

History of sealing drive in New Delhi

MCD movement to demolish commercial establishments in residential areas

On February 16, 2006, the Delhi High Court handed over a notice to Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) to remove all the commercial ventures in residential areas in the capital. After came the notice from the high court, MCD took up an immediate reaction and started planning the strategy regarding demolition of shops in the colonies. [1]

On February 23, 2006, the central government asked High Court (HC) to provide some time to prepare the plan to deal with the violators of building bylaws in the Capital. They asked HC to provide about 3 months to minor violators and in the meanwhile the demolition action could be implementated to major violators. [2]

After came into the decisions of the High Court the people, who were afraid of getting harmed by HC's notice, agitated and became violent. This was followed by suspension of the demolition activities on February 25, 2006. [3]

High Court refrained from passing any order after hearing the application came from central government seeking some time-relief for minor violators on February 27, 2006. A division bench of High Court, comprising Justice Vijender Jain and Justice Rekha Sharma, posted the matter for hearing on March 22, 2006 and sent a notification to MCD for exempting Lal Deora areas from building bylaws in the meanwhile. [4]

The opposition parties opposed the HC notice and the matter was raised in Lok Sabha (Lower house of the parliament in India) sessions. MCD passed the resolution to state and central government to approach High court and Supreme Court to make any postponement in demolition on March 13, 2006. [5] Supreme Court fixed March 26, 2006 the deadline for sealing of shops.

Traders' movement against the demolition activities

Traders protested against the demolition activities in the residential areas in the city on March 18, 2006. They demonstrated their anger across the streets in capital after producing the deadline of sealing the shops. They demanded to produce the policy of regularisation of shops in the residential areas. The traders came to take part in the protest from different local areas association, like, Jail Road, Rajouri Garden, Kirti Nagar Mansarovar Garden, Karol Bagh, Rohini colony and South Delhi. [6] Traders called for the bandh (off) on March 21, 2006. [7]

MCD cleared out that they would not extend the deadline of sealing of illegal commercial establishment in residential areas as the order came from the supreme court. [8] The traders called off the markets and stay closed all the major markets located in residential areas including South Extension, Greater Kailash, Kotla Mubarakpur, Kalkaji, Govindpuri, Green Park, Vikaspuri, Janak Puri, Uttam Nagar, Shalimar Bagh, Pitampura, Ashok Vihar, Model Town, Azadpur, Kamla Nagar, Shakti Nagar, Roop Nagar, Malka Ganj and Patparganj. [9]

Notifications from the authorities

Delhi High Court threatened to dissolve the MCD if they were failed to follow to run accordingly by the law on March 23, 2006. A division bench comprised of Justice Vijender Jain and Justice Rekha Sharma told MCD to form an independent body if they were unable to take action and run in accordance. [10]

Supreme Court extended the deadline to March 28, 2006 by seeing the contempoary tense situation in the capital on March 24, 2006. The apex court added that there would not be given any misuses of the establishments after June 30, 2006 to those who would file an affidavit with the MCD by March 28, 2006.[11] Delhi High Court asked MCD and DDA to file the affidavits to support legal farmhoses functioning in Delhi. [12]

The central government notified the amendments in the Master Plan of Delhi, 2001 by bringing some reliefs to minor traders. Ajay Maken, contemporary minister of state for urban development, on March 28, 2006, said that there should be some criteria to segregate major and minor violators. He added that new policy, naming mixed land used, of segregation would permit legalise commercial activities on the ground floor of residential premises in the city. [13]

MCD's drive of sealing commercial establishments

On March 29, 2006, MCD started sealing the commercial establishments in residential areas whose owners were failed to file a requistee before the deadline set by the apex court. After expiring the deadline MCD started sealing shops in all the zones under the tight security by police. [14]

MCD constituted a committee of 6 members to identify the areas where mixed land use policy is applicable. The committee was comprised of Jitender Kochar, Mukesh Goel, Subhash Arya, V K Bugga, Ravi Das and K D Akolia. On the other hand, High Court issued a warrant to the MCD Counsel for not appearing before the court because of the lawyer's stike on March 30, 2006. [15]

MCD steeped up its sealing drive after warnings came fron HC and SC On April 1, 2006. MCD took action against illegal establishment covering all the zones despite the protest and widespread resistance. [16]

Delhi Laws (Special Provisions) Bill, 2006

On April 25, 2006, the union urban development minister S Jaipal Reddy said that the central government would provie a bill concerning regularisation of commercial establishment. [17] On May 2, 2006, Reddy added that the bill will provide relief from the sealing drive and demolition in the city. The bill has issues related to demolitions including unauthorised construction, sealing of shops and slum dwellers in the city. [18]

On May 8, 2006, chief minister Sheila Dikshit announced that the bill seeking relief from the municipal drive was being framed and would be forwarded to the cabinet ministers soon. [19] On May 10, 2006, Reddy said that the bill is expected to be applied by next week and added that the bill to provide short-term relief would be likely to introduce tomorrow in the parliament. [20]

MCD announced end of the sealing drive on May 20, 2006 after central government introduced the bill to suspend the action of Municipal authorities. President Kalam named the bill by Delhi Laws (Special Provisions) Bill, 2006. [21]



  1. MCD ordered to remove big commercial ventures from residential areas
  2. Demolitions: Centre asks HC for time to prepare plan
  3. Demolitions suspended as violence erupts
  4. Demolitions: HC refrains from ruling on Centre’s application
  5. Traders demand regularisation of shops in residential areas
  6. Traders demand regularisation of shops in residential areas
  7. Traders to observe bandh tomorrow
  8. No extension of deadline for sealing, MCD tells SC
  9. Major markets stay closed due to traders’ protest
  10. Demolitions: MCD told to perform or face dissolution
  11. Sealing of shops: SC extends deadline
  12. HC wants affidavits on closure of illegal farmhouses
  13. Notification for mixed land use issued
  14. MCD begins sealing shops in residential areas
  15. MCD committee to identify roads for mixed land use
  16. MCD steps up drive to seal shops
  17. Centre for Bill if SC declines plea on sealings: Reddy
  18. Bill will take up many pending issues: Reddy
  19. Bill on demolitions, sealings being drawn up: CM
  20. Bill to stop sealing drive may be moved today
  21. MCD announces end to demolition, sealing drive

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This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.