SC extends deadline given to AAP to vacate Rouse Avenue office

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SC extends deadline given to AAP to vacate Rouse Avenue office

Tuesday, 11 June 2024 | Staff Reporter | New Delhi

The Supreme Court on Monday extended by nearly two months the June 15 deadline given to the Aam Aadmi Party to vacate its office at Rouse Avenue in the national capital.  The top court had on March 4 directed the party to vacate its office by June 15 after noting that the plot was allotted to the Delhi High Court for expanding judicial infrastructure.

 A vacation bench comprising justices Vikran Nath and Sandeep Mehta took note of the submissions of senior advocate Abhishek Singhvi, appearing for the AAP and others, and extended the deadline till August 10, saying it was the last opportunity and that the party will have to hand over the vacant possession of the building at 206, Rouse Avenue here by then.

 The premises were allotted in 2020 to the Delhi High Court for creating infrastructure for the district judiciary in the national capital.  At the outset, Singhvi urged the bench that the deadline be extended.  Lawyer K Parmeshwar, appointed as amicus curiae to assist the apex court in the matter, said there was a shortage of 90 courtrooms for judicial officers.

 "We (the high court) are in dire conditions and now we may have to rent premises to accommodate the newly-recruited judicial officers, who are undergoing training presently," he said.   Parmeshwar said the AAP wanted some place in central Delhi and they are being offered land at some other place in the city.

 "The premises in question had to be vacated by June 15, 2024. The premises are already allotted to the Delhi High Court in 2020. The expansion of judicial infrastructure is stultified and the cost of expansion is also a factor. This application is for extension of time till August 10, 2024.

 "Considering facts and circumstances and as the last opportunity, we extend the time till August 10, 2024 on an undertaking to be given by the applicant (AAP) within a week before the registry of this court that they shall hand over vacant and peaceful possession by August 10, 2024," the bench ordered.

 On March 4, a bench headed by Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud had directed the party to vacate its offices at Rouse Avenue in the national capital by June 15, after noting that the plot was allotted to the Delhi High Court for expanding judicial infrastructure.

 It had said that the AAP has no lawful right to continue on the land. It had asked the AAP to approach the Land and Development Office under the Union Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry for allotment of land for its offices.  Singhvi had submitted that AAP is one of the six national parties in the country and it is entitled to land in the New Delhi municipal area in accordance with its status.

 "They are telling us as a national party we get nothing. I'm given (land in) Badarpur, while everyone else is in better places. A particular government does not want me to be flourishing and working," Singhvi had said.  Calling AAP an "encroacher", Solicitor General Tushar Mehta had told the top court that the land allotment to the party was revoked in June 2017.

Parameshwar had informed the bench that by a communication dated June 13, 2017, the Public Works Department of the Delhi government apprised the National Secretary of the AAP that the allotment of Bungalow no.206 at Rouse Avenue stood revoked as per the directions of the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi.

 The AAP had earlier denied that its offices at Rouse Avenue are an encroachment on land allotted to the Delhi High Court for judicial infrastructure and told the top court that it was officially allotted to it by the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi.

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