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Can graveyards in Delhi be shifted, Delhi High Court asks

LiveMint logoLiveMint 26-05-2017 PTI

New Delhi: The Delhi high court on Friday asked the authorities to explore the possibility of shifting all graveyards in the national capital to a “proper place”. The court also sought to know from the authorities how graveyards were maintained in other countries.

“There are graves in roads, people sit there, animals sit there and defecate and make them dirty. These graves should be relocated to a proper property. Is there any possibility of shifting the graves to a proper place,” a bench of acting chief justice Gita Mittal and justice C Hari Shankar asked.

It also said, “you need a park as much as you need a graveyard, a house and a school.” The bench’s observations came during the hearing of a plea by an NGO which moved the court against the removal of a night shelter inside the Amir Khusro Park near Sundar Nagar in South Delhi.

However, the shelter was demolished as the court had not granted it any interim protection. The court told the Wakf Board, which is the owner of the land where the park exists, that it is a valuable area and needs to be preserved. It also said the DDA and the municipal corporation were ready to help the board to restore the park. The bench observed that there are over 900 properties of Wakf Board which have been encroached upon by private persons.

“How are private people coming and taking away your property? There are so many properties of the board which have been encroached upon by private persons,” it said and asked the DDA to file a status report and listed the matter for further hearing on 29 May. The bench had earlier asked the authorities to demolish the illegal construction inside the Amir Khusro Park and restore it to its original position.

It also said that law was same for everyone and it has to be complied with and no illegal construction in the city would be spared. It further said that old structures, which comply with the law, will be preserved while the remaining ones will go. The NGO in its plea has said the shelter housed 50-60 children and around 60 women who were left homeless after the demolition in pursuance to a high court order.

The court had refused to stay the demolition and directed the authorities to ensure that all the homeless were accommodated in another shelter home located in the vicinity. It had refused to grant any relief against an anti- encroachment drive by the DDA in parks of Delhi, observing that squatters cannot be allowed to stay inside.

The high court had last month issued directions to the authorities to remove encroachments inside and around the 12.8-acre historic park. PTI

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