HC seeks Centre’s stand on allotment of land for AAP office

| | New Delhi
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HC seeks Centre’s stand on allotment of land for AAP office

Wednesday, 15 May 2024 | Staff Reporter | New Delhi

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday sought the Centre’s stand on the allotment of accommodation to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) for its offices on account of being recognised as a national party.

The senior counsel appearing for the political party told the court that presently, a minister in the Delhi government is occupying a unit on Deen Dayal Updhayay Marg and is willing to forgo it if it is allotted to the AAP until land is given to the party for the construction of its offices.

Justice Subramonium Prasad asked the BJP-led Centre to take instructions in this regard and listed the matter for further hearing on Wednesday.

The court was hearing petitions filed by the AAP last year, seeking allotment of land or a housing unit on licence basis in the national capital for the construction of its offices in view of its status as a recognised national party.

Senior lawyers appearing for the petitioner argued that an alternative housing must be allotted to the AAP as its current office on Rouse Avenue has to be vacated by June 15 and the construction of a new building on any allotted land cannot be completed in the meantime.The court was told that the allotment of the plot on DDU Marg, which is with the AAP minister, was initially for the construction of family courts, but it was subsequently cancelled and another plot for this purpose was marked elsewhere.

“The central government’s counsel is directed to take instructions,” the judge said. In March, the Supreme Court granted the AAP time till June 15 to vacate its Rouse Avenue office after noting that the land was allotted to the Delhi High Court for expanding judicial infrastructure.

In its petition, the Arvind Kejriwal-led party has said since land has been allotted by authorities for the construction of office premises to all other national parties in central locations in New Delhi, it is incumbent upon them to ensure that a similar allotment is also made in favour of the petitioner in accordance with its entitlement.

The plea has sought quashing of last year’s June 26 and September 15 letters of the Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs by which the AAP’s request to allot land to the party for the construction of its national and state unit offices here was rejected. The request was rejected on the ground that no vacant land was available at Deen Dayal Upadhyay Marg or other centrally-located area of Delhi for allotment.

The AAP has claimed that it is entitled to a total area of 1,000 square metres for the construction of offices for its national and state units in view of the policies issued by the Union ministry.

It has, therefore, sought a direction to the Union ministry to take necessary steps in accordance with law to allot a suitable land to it in New Delhi to enable the party to construct offices for its national and Delhi state units at the earliest.

It has also sought a direction to the authorities concerned to ensure that the land so allotted is preferably in a centrally-located area of Delhi and free from encumbrances and encroachments, so that the construction of its offices may be commenced immediately.

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