On Monday, Allahabad High Court held a special sitting where they stayed the demolition of a residential complex which was built in close vicinity of ancient monuments where it is said that Lord Buddha attained Nirvana.
The Sub Divisional Magistrate of the area had issued the directions for the petitioner’s property’s demolition on February 12. The petitioner immediately moved the Allahabad High Court
As the Court was not open on Monday, Hon’ble Chief Justice Govind Mathur ordered that an urgent hearing should be held and a Division Bench took up the matter.
The Division Bench heard the parties and directed the petitioner to approach the competent authority and restrained the respondent authorities from taking any coercive action against the petitioner. The order described above was passed on an urgent basis without calling rejoinder or counter-affidavits.
Hon’ble Court clarified that respondents could file a recall application if any detail provided by the petitioner were incorrect.
Facts of Case
The prosecution alleged that the petitioner’s property was built in violation of Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act. As per Section 20B of the Act, an area within 200 meters of protected monuments is a regulated area, and no construction can be done in the area.
It was further alleged that the petitioner’s property was constructed within two hundred meters of ancient monuments in Kushinagar district ( where Lord Buddha attained Nirvana)
Arguments before the Court
- Order in question was passed without giving an opportunity for a hearing.
- Even though objection/reply to notice was submitted on 12.01.2021, the order was passed on the very same day.
- The competent authority passed the map of construction and the respondents never raised any objections.
- The property in question was situated more than 200 meters away from the monument.
- The area in question has never declared a prohibited area.
Contentions of the Respondent State:-
Counsel for the State argued that show cause notice was given to the petitioner in 2010 and also in 2012 but still constructed the property.
Vide notice dated 30.01.2021 the authority gave the petitioner an opportunity to make representation; however, the petitioner failed to reply.
Order of the Court:-
The Bench opined that there was nothing to show that the petitioner’s house was within the prohibited area. The impugned order was passed casually, and the petitioners were not allowed to make representation which is against the principle of natural justice.