The Supreme Court on Tuesday took strong exception to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Delhi chief and MP Manoj Tiwari for allegedly violating its directions on the sealing of illegal structures in the national capital, and said that being an MP does not give him liberty to take the law in his hands.
Tiwari was present before the court in pursuance to the contempt notice issued to him for allegedly breaking the seal of premises which was being run in violation of the Delhi Master Plan. The apex court expressed its anguish against his statement in which he had said that the monitoring committee was not sealing thousands of illegal structures and directed him to file an affidavit within a week.
A bench headed by Justice Madan B Lokur asked the BJP leader to explain his claims made to a news channel related to the Delhi sealing matter.
“Mr Tiwari, in your CD, you say there are one thousand places which deserve to be sealed. Give us a list of these places. We will make you the sealing officer,” said the bench also comprising Justices S Abdul Nazeer and Deepak Gupta.
Tiwari, who is an MP from northeast Delhi constituency has an FIR against him by the East Delhi Municipal Corporation for allegedly breaking the seal of the premises in Gokalpuri area in north-east Delhi.
Senior advocate Vikas Singh, appearing for Tiwari, said that no seal was broken by the BJP leader and he himself being an MP has not ever disrupted the sealing process. The lawyer said he needs time to file a detailed reply in the matter.
“We are asking you, have you seen the CD? In the CD he says there are a thousand places which deserve to be sealed. He a member of the Parliament. That does not give him liberty to take law in his hands,” the court said. It then directed Tiwari to appear on October 3 when it will next hear the matter.
A controversy had erupted on September 16 after a video purportedly showing Tiwari breaking the lock of a sealed house surfaced.
The AAP and the Congress, while reacting sharply to the video, linked it with the ongoing sealing drive by the BJP-ruled municipal corporations in the city.
Aam Aadmi Party convener and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal alleged that after demonetisation and the GST, the sealing now by the BJP has “destroyed” Delhi. “They conduct sealing in the morning and break the lock in the evening. Do they feel people are fools,” Kejriwal had tweeted.
Tiwari told PTI that he was on a visit to Gokalpur where he was informed by locals that only one house among the 1,000 was sealed by the municipal corporation.
“I broke the seal against the pick-and-choose policy by the corporation. The locals claimed all the houses were illegally constructed but a particular house was singled out for action by the corporation,” he said.
Tiwari said he “wanted to appeal” to the Supreme Court and its monitoring committee to ensure that no such “pick and choose” action was taken in the name of the sealing drive.
“I will not even spare municipal corporations, even though the BJP rules them, in such matters,” he asserted. He also attacked the Congress and the AAP, saying the problem of sealing was a result of their “failure” to address the issue of unauthorised colonies in the national capital. “The Congress-ruled Delhi for 15 years and the AAP is at the helm of affairs for the last 3.5 years. They never made any sincere efforts to address the issue of unauthorised colonies in Delhi,” Tiwari had charged.
While taking a serious note of a report filed by the apex court-mandated monitoring committee in this regard, the top court had earlier observed that it was “unfortunate” that an elected representative should try to defy the orders of the top court.
The court had taken cognisance of the panel report and said it reflected a “rather disturbing state of affairs”.
In its report, the monitoring committee has said that “despite repeated directions of this court, the members of political parties and other such persons are intentionally and deliberately violating and showing utter disgrace to the directions passed by the court for political gains”.
(With PTI inputs)