M C MEHTA Vs. UNION OF INDIA
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
UNION OF INDIA
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(1.)This order on two applications having been filed, one on behalf of the Union of India [I.A. No. 1995] and another on behalf of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi [I. A. No. 1998] concerns those traders/professionals stated to be about 25,000 in number, who though otherwise covered by Notifications dated 7th September, 2006, and 15th September, 2006, have not been given the benefit of those notifications in view of the earlier undertakings filed by them. Only very few had stopped commercial activity in terms of the undertakings.
(2.)Pursuant to the order made on 15th November, 2006, the Monitoring Committee has filed its 15th Report dated 22nd November, 2006.
The Monitoring Committee has reported that total number of 18443 affidavits have been filed by those who had given undertakings mentioning that they had either stopped the misuse or vacated the premises or closed the shops by locking the establishment. The Monitoring Committee visited a few establishments at random in various zones. The report mentions that, by and large, the traders, who had filed these undertakings/affidavits, have either vacated the premises or kept their establishments under lock and key. There were, however, some violations in respect of establishments mentioned in the enclosed statement which has been marked as Annexure 'A' to the Report.
Subject to what we note hereinafter, persons who have either earlier or now have stopped commercial activity in terms of the undertakings/affidavits filed but are covered by the two notifications above-noted, having regard to the peculiar facts and circumstances, are temporarily relieved of the undertakings and placed at par with others covered by Direction No. 3 of the order dated 29th September, 2006. The conditions stipulated in the said Direction No. 3 would be applicable to such traders/professionals. The present order is in continuation of the orders passed on 29th September, 2006, 18th October, 2006, 6th November, 2006, and 15th November, 2006.
(3.)However, thirty-four establishments mentioned in Annexure 'A' will not be entitled to above concession. The Monitoring Committee can verify and if they have not ceased commercial activity, the premises shall be sealed and it be ensured that commercial activity is not carried on by them.
The Monitoring Committee in Paragraph (3) has recommended particular establishments which, having regard to the larger public interest and the nature of commercial activity carried on, may not be granted relief over and above those mentioned in Annexure 'A'. In principle, we agree with the recommendation made by the Monitoring Committee in paragraph (3) of the report. We wish to make it clear that there cannot be any protection in respect of activities covered by Category 'g', namely, 'Establishments on encroached public land'. Such activity must cease forthwith. In regard to Categories 'a' to 'f', namely, big furnishing stores; big gold and diamond jewellery show rooms; show rooms for sale of old and new cars; big branded show rooms; big restaurants, and call centres/BPOs, even though may be covered by Notifications dated 7th September, 2006 and 15th September, 2006, and have filed undertakings or affidavits now that they have stopped commercial activity, the commercial activity can be allowed to continue only after their making necessary provision for parking facility. It would be open to establishments of aforesaid Categories 'a' to 'f to satisfy the Monitoring Committee that necessary provision for parking has been made and will be continued for the public and, if satisfied, the Monitoring Committee may permit them commercial activity on case to case basis.
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