The Delhi High Court, on December 15, 2017, dismissed a plea by the National Sports Club of India (NSCI) seeking a stay on the government’s integrated transit corridor project in and around Pragati Maidan. The NSCI had sought a stay on the project work, as the government proposed to take over a portion of the club’s land, for development of the ‘integrated transit corridor development and street network/ connectivity plan’.
Justice Vibhu Bakhru said the ‘project will go on’ and issued notice to the Delhi government, Ministry of Urban Development, New Delhi Municipal Council and infrastructure major Larsen & Toubro (L&T) Ltd, on the plea of NSCI contending that its land was being taken away without its consent. The court sought the response of the authorities on the petition and listed the matter for May 17, 2018.
The Delhi government’s Public Works Department (PWD) is developing the integrated transit corridor along Delhi-Mathura Road and Purana Qila Road, alongside the NSCI boundary wall. NSCI, in its petition, alleged that the Delhi government was attempting to enter and take over a portion of its land unauthorisedly and without following due process of law. During the hearing, the court refused to grant the interim relief to NSCI, after it was informed by additional solicitor general Sanjay Jain and Delhi government standing counsel Ramesh Singh that the centre was entitled to take away its land, given on lease, if it was required for public cause.
The counsel also placed on record a letter given to the club, in the form of a notice. “Clearly, the land is being taken for public cause, for constructing the integrated transit corridor,” the bench said, while dismissing the stay application. It, however, made clear that this order would not stop the club from seeking compensation, or any other relief from the government.
Senior advocate Akhil Sibal, appearing for NSCI, sought direction to the authorities not to interfere with the club’s possession of land, demised under the perpetual lease deed of June 27, 1956 and not to enter or carry out any work in the premises, without its consent. It has further sought quashing of the no-objection certificates of February and April 2017, obtained by the Delhi government, to the extent that it applied to the land leased out to the club.
“The authorities have so far failed to show any other provision of law, entitling them to take over a portion of the club’s land without its consent, by way of compulsory acquisition, without payment of compensation. The actions of the authorities are purportedly in pursuance to a plan that was formulated by keeping the club entirely in the dark, without seeking its opinion and/or to be taken over and utilised under the plan,” the plea claimed. The project’s scope includes construction of cut and cover tunnels, underpass, foot overbrige, loops, ramps, road work, landscaping/horticulture works and other associated works.