Delhi HC refuses to stay Lokpal’s order for CBI probe against MCD officials

The Delhi High Court on Friday refused to stay a Lokpal order instructing the CBI to investigate officials of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi on a complaint claiming unlicensed and illegal constructions in south Delhi.

A bench of Justice Pratibha M. Singh declined the MCD’s prayer for interim protection and that the impugned order be stayed.

“You make out a case on the next date, I will (then) stay the proceedings,” she said while listing the matter for further hearing on January 5, 2023.

The MCD argued that the Lokpal had ordered a CBI inquiry without any claim of corruption, a finding of corruption, or any other persuasive justification for such a probe.

It further submitted that the decision, which was issued on November 28, is not only arbitrary but also “antithesis to the rights of corporation and its officers” particularly in light of a general finding regarding “rapid illegal construction across South Delhi”.

As per the plea, the complaint alleged that corporation officials posted at the Building Department in the city’s Green Park area, failed to write letters to Electricity and Water Departments requesting the disconnection of defaulting builders or contractors.

The complaint further emphasised the growing population density of the national capital and how unlawful building is becoming a growing threat, saying that this is because of the corrupt actions of corporation officers.

MCD’s counsel Rajshekhar Rao argued: “If this has to be extended and on a blanket order without any basis, by that logic then, the Delhi Police should also be investigated by the CBI because there are crimes happening all over the city. This is exactly the logic.”

On Rao’s prayer for the order be stayed, the court said: “Not in this case. Once the Lokpal has considered the matter, I have to hear them. MCD engineers are a problem. Unauthorised constructions, encroachments, everything. Something has to be done.”

Counsel then said: “It can’t be a CBI investigation. Nobody will be able to do their work and that’s why I said please extend this logic… there are crimes in the city.”

In response, the court said: “Not the logic. MCD can’t be equated with Delhi Police.”

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