“The 'vanvas' should be over by now” as even the epic Ramayana did not last for over 14 years, the Delhi High Court observed on Tuesday while expressing concern over the pendency of a matter related to redevelopment of the Chandni Chowk here since 2007.
“This petition has been going on since 2007… Even the Ramayana did not last for more than 14 years. The 'vanvas' should be over by now. What is going on?” a bench of Justices Siddharth Mridul and Anup Jairam Bhambhani said.
The court made the observation while hearing an application filed in the pending petition by NGO, Manushi Sangathan, on the issue of redevelopment of the Chandni Chowk area and creation of lanes for non-motorised vehicles (NMV). An application was filed by the service department of Delhi government seeking discharge of Nodal officer Renu Sharma from the case as she has been transferred to Mizoram as Chief Secretary.
The court however adjourned the proceedings on the application at the request of the counsel, and listed it for further hearing on January 13. The counsel submitted that as per the court's earlier order nodal officer Renu Sharma shall not be transferred without its prior permission.
In the main matter, the court had earlier passed a slew of directions to decongest the area by ordering registration of cycle rickshaws plying there, construction of a parking lot at Gandhi Maidan for private vehicles coming there, a bus depot at Dangal Maidan near Old Delhi Railway Station and creation of NMV lanes. All these projects are part of the main plan to redevelop Chandni Chowk and it is being actively monitored by the high court.
Advocate Indira Unninayar, representing the petitioner NGO, submitted that the case has been going on for the last 14 years and repeated orders have been passed reflecting tardiness, reluctance and non-compliances of the authorities or government agencies with several cases of contempt.
She submitted that the purpose of the PIL has not been achieved at a broader and holistic level and the petitioner feels that the case has outlived its purpose and seeks that it be wound up as it does not have the bandwidth and energy to pursue the matter any longer, given the prolonged timelines with little hope for any end in sight.
On September 12, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal inaugurated the redeveloped Chandni Chowk market. In the redevelopment project, the 1.3km-long stretch of the main Chandni Chowk Road, from Lal Qila to Fatehpuri Masjid Road, has been improved and beautified.
-With PTI Inputs