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Illegality of construction cannot be pleaded before court of law without cogent, convincing evidence: Delhi HC imposes 25k costs

"The petitioner, claiming to be a public spirited citizen and social activist, has approached this Court without even the minimal diligence", the Court noted.

Aditi Singh

The Delhi High Court has held that the illegality of a construction cannot be pleaded before a court of law without any cogent and convincing evidence (Dilip Kumar v NDMC).

The order was passed by a Division Bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan in a public interest litigation preferred by one Dilip Kumar.

The petitioner sought directions to the municipal authorities to demolish the illegal construction at a certain location in the national capital and to "book the culprit to justice".

It was submitted that the construction/building in question was an old construction and thus, the two additional floors could not be built on it.

Stating that the allegedly illegal construction was dangerous, the petitioner also prayed for a direction to the authorities concerned to ensure effective implementation of their responsibilities.

After considering the submissions made by the petitioner, the Court observed that the present PIL was filed without the required care or responsibility.

Noting that there was no material to support the allegation that the construction was illegal or without sanction, the Court said,

"The petitioner has neither stated the source of any information he might have received in this regard, nor the basis for his belief that the construction is illegal. There is only a vague averment that the petition is based on information in the public domain, including the internet. This is hardly sufficient to form an opinion on the subject and move the Court by way of a public interest litigation."
Delhi High Court

It was also recorded that allegations of illegality were made without any inquiry with respect to the ownership or management of the building in question and joining them as a party. The order states,

"The petitioner claims to have credible information regarding the illegality in the construction, but only the building itself i.e. ITL Twin Tower (“Through its Owner/ Management/ Director”) is joined as party respondent No.3. The owner of the said building is not identified or joined as a party respondent...The petitioner, claiming to be a public spirited citizen and social activist, has approached this Court without even the minimal diligence."

The Court thus opined that the PIL was filed without any basis and knowledge, and clarified,

"The legality or otherwise of the construction cannot be established without any cogent and convincing evidence to be led before the concerned authorities or competent Court."
Delhi High Court

Finding no substance in the PIL, the Court dismissed it with the costs of Rs 25.000 to be paid by the petitioner to the Delhi State Legal Services Authority.

Read the Order:

Dilip Kumar vs NDMC.pdf
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