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Civic bodies to move SC for stay on sealing drive

Statesman News Service | New Delhi |

The three BJP-ruled municipal corporations in Delhi on Saturday jointly resolved to file an appeal in the Supreme Court seeking a six-month stay on the ongoing sealing drive to give relief to traders, even as chaos over th isssue marred the proceedings of the House.

The joint session of the three civic bodies ~ North, South and East Delhi municipal corporations ~ had barely started when it was rocked by protests by AAP members.

BJP councillors also added to the commotion by engaging in heated exchange with AAP counterparts, as the House witnessed complete pandemonium. AAP members trooped into the well of the House, holding placards and raising slogans. Some stood on their seats. Police personnel had to be also deployed to restore normalcy after the BJP and AAP councillors confronted each other. The three mayors ~ Kamaljeet Sehrawat (SDMC), Preety Agarwal (NDMC) and Neema Bhagat (EDMC) ~ temporarily left the House, and returned only after some semblance of order was restored.

The joint House passed two resolutions: one sought temporary relief for traders from sealing by going for an appeal in court and the other urged the Delhi government to take up the matter of Master Plan 2021 with the Centre. “The joint House session resolved that an appeal be made in the Supreme Court seeking a six-month stay on sealing drive and a request be made to the apex court to direct the monitoring committee to halt the sealing for six months,” the resolution read.

It said that the services of the additional solicitor general of India (ASG) be sought to put forth the side of the corporations before the court.

Civic bodies in North, South and Central Delhi carried out sealing drives, which started late last month with action against over 50 shops in Defence Colony Market, at the instance of a Supreme Court-appointed monitoring committee. It was claimed that action is being taken against properties for non-payment of conversion charges, or for alleged violation of civic norms such as encroachments or illegal constructions. Another resolution sought notification of 351 roads as commercial or mixed-land use by the state government.

Observers pointed out that the joint session was called to work out a plan setting aside party affiliations. Instead it became a political wrestling arena as AAP members traded barbs with their BJP counterparts, while Congress leaders attacked both the parties.

Ahead of the joint session, many AAP councillors and supporters took out a protest march from party headquarters on Rouse Avenue to Civic Centre, the headquarters of NDMC and SDMC.