Comply with order to demolish Chandni Chowk gurdwara ‘piao’: HC

New Delhi, April 8 (IANS) The Delhi High Court on Friday asked the north civic body to comply with its order to remove a “piao” (drinking water kiosk) near Gurdwara Sis Ganj Sahib in Chandni Chowk, which was reconstructed overnight after its demolition on the court’s March 28 order.

A division bench of Justice S. Murlidhar and Justice Vibhu Bakhru expressed strong displeasure on reconstruction of ‘piao’ despite the court’s order.

“We don’t want the message to go to anyone that they can take law in their own hand. It can’t be tolerated. This is a complete breakdown of law and order, and we can’t allow that to happen,” it said.

“This is not about the ‘piao’. For us its dignity of court. Rule of law has to survive. Police can’t say we are unable to handle the situation.”

The kiosk, demolished pursuant to court’s March 28 order, was reconstructed overnight after which the high court on Thursday ordered its immediate removal and round clock police presence in the area.

An encroachment drive, undertaken by the civic body after the March 28 court orders for the removal of illegal encroachments, including illegal religious structures, in Chandni Chowk within two weeks, had triggered protests and violence in the area on Wednesday.

On Friday, the court slammed the the leaders of the Sikh groups who were leading the mob after Wednesday’s demolition drive to reconstruct the kiosk. “If someone is not happy with our order they can approach a higher court but how can they take the law in their hand.”

It declined plea of the Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Management Committee (DSGMC) to maintain status quo with regard to it.

Senior counsel Pratibha Singh, appearing for DSGMC, said the ‘piao’ was within the pillar of the Gurudwara and that it was part of a historical structure.

The court said it will look into the contention. “When did this ‘piao’ come up, we will see,” the bench said asking Delhi government to submit a record on this aspect.

The Delhi government also sought relaxation of court’s order with regard to removal of the kiosk, as it was for providing free drinking water to people.

However, the bench said: “Why don’t you as a government supply free drinking water without using the ‘piao’. All your politics, you can play out in the streets but not in courts.”

It further remarked: “Don’t discriminate citizen between those who go to a gurdwara or a mandir with those on the streets. You must provide free drinking water to all people in Delhi. Its your duty.”

The court told Lt. Governor Najeeb Jung to hold a meeting with commissioner of North Delhi Municipal Corporation and the secretary of Public Works Department (PWD) with regard to the ‘piao’ and place a report before the court.

It also restrained DSGMC leaders Manjit Singh G.K. and Manjinder Singh Sirsa from visiting the ‘piao’ site, which is already cordoned off. It, however, clarified that they can visit the gurudwara.

The court posted the matter for May 12.

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