HC defers hearing on VHP plea against properties given to Waqf Board

13_08_58_02_vhp_Logo_1_1Noting that there would be a “new government of India by next week”, the Delhi High Court deferred hearing on a plea filed by the Vishva Hindu Parishad against the government’s decision to release 123 properties, acquired in 1911 by the then British government, to the Delhi Waqf Board.

The VHP had filed a writ petition, challenging a March 5 order of the Centre to denotify the properties, located across the New Delhi area.

“The properties which have been acquired and vested in the government after the possession of the same has been taken, it cannot be de-notified/released from acquisition in exercise of power under Section 48 of the Land Acquisition Act,” the petition has said to help us personalise your reading experience.

During arguments before the court of Justice Pradeep Nandrajog and Justice Jayant Nath on Wednesday, advocate Anil Grover, counsel for the VHP, said the Centre had taken possession of the properties in 1911. “The legal question is whether the government can simply release or denotify properties,” Grover said.

The lawyer also argued that in 1984, when a similar decision was sought to be taken, the High Court had issued a status quo order on the properties, after the government had “admitted” to having taken possession.

The lawyer for the Central government, however, sought time to file a response to the petition, following which the court held that it would hear the matter on May 26. The court also suggested that the petitioners could consider approaching the National Archives to get a copy of the original land acquisition order issued in 1911.

The British government had acquired a lot of land to build India’s newcapital in the years that followed the shift from Calcutta in 1911. Sixty-one of these 123 properties are now owned by the Land & Development Office (L&DO) under the Urban Development Ministry; the rest are with the Delhi Development Authority (DDA).

Source: Indian Express