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The Supreme Court has observed that there is no reason to continue with the sealing of premises in Delhi on the ground of alleged unauthorized change of user from residential to commercial if they were actually sold as shops.

The three-judge bench comprising of Chief Justice of India SA Bobde, Justices AS Bopanna, and V Ramasubramanian heard an application filed by a market welfare association which said that many shops, which were purchased by the owners for commercial use, have been sealed by the monitoring committee on the ground that there was an unauthorized change of user from residential to commercial.

The court stated that “If it is a fact that the premises which have been sealed on the   ground   of unauthorized change   of   user   from   residential   to commercial, was actually sold as a shop, we see no reason why the sealing should continue.”

Senior Advocate P S Narasimha, appearing for the association said that these premises were originally purchased as shops.

“However, it is important to ascertain which of the premises which have been sealed were originally purchased as shops meant for commercial use. We accordingly consider it appropriate to direct that a list be prepared of all such premises which were originally purchased as shops and have now been sealed on the ground that residential premises have been converted unauthorizedly to commercial premises,” the bench said in its order.

Further, it said that advocate ADN Rao, who is assisting it as an amicus curiae in the matter, will scrutinize all relevant documents regarding the original purchase of these premises.

Meanwhile, senior advocate Sanjiv Sen, appearing for South Delhi Municipal Corporation, sought permission to point out documents that would show the true status of shops in question when they were purchased.

“We permit the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) to do so,” the bench said.

The top court had earlier ordered the restoration of its 2006 monitoring committee to identify and seal unauthorized structures in Delhi.

The monitoring committee, comprising KJ Rao, former advisor to the Election Commissioner, Bhure Lal, chairman of Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority, and Major General (Retd.) Som Jhingan was set up on 24 March 2006, by the court.


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