“Will prayer reach God if you pray on illegal property? What is the sanctity in that?”, the Delhi High court asked on Tuesday while dealing with encroachments around the 108-feet tall Hanuman statue in the Karol Bagh area of Central Delhi.A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar made the remarks while hearing a host of matters relating to illegal constructions in the Karol Bagh area of the national capital. The bench directed the North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC)’s additional commissioner to inspect all the buildings in Old Rajinder Nagar within a week from Tuesday.”No status report filed. Additional Commissioner of NDMC to physically inspect the building in Old Rajinder Nagar within one week from today,” the court said in its order.The bench also directed the additional commissioner”to place the details and records pertaining to the construction of the Link Road and the pavement on which the encroachments have come up”. The court’s direction came when the additional standing counsel of the Delhi government, advocate Satyakam, informed the court that one paw of the Hanuman Idol at Karol Bagh is on the pavement maintained by the Public Works Department (PWD) of the Delhi government and the rest on the land possessed by the Delhi Development Authority (DDA).To this the court posed a query about the ownership and maintenance of the Hanuman idol to which it was informed that the idol is maintained by a trust run by one Om Prakash Giri and his father had started the trust in 1981. It was also said that the bank statements of the trust are being examined.”Who is maintaining the idol? Who is the owner of the trust? Where do they get the authority to maintain it,” the court asked as it expressed its displeasure on the ongoing commercial activities and illegal car parking in the area.The court also said that all the encroachments “will be dealt with,” thereby stating that it will prosecute the officers under whose tenure the encroachments had come up.
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