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SC orders AAP to vacate office on Delhi HC's land by June 15

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday gave time to the Aam Aadmi Party till June 15 to vacate its political office located on a plot that was allotted to the Delhi High Court for the purpose of expanding the district judiciary after taking note of the upcoming general election.

A bench led by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud also permitted AAP to apply to the Land and Development Office of the Government of India for allotment of the alternate land in accordance with the law in the meantime.

"In view of the impending general elections, we grant time until June 15, 2024, to vacate the premises," the court said.

During the hearing, the Solicitor General Tushar Mehta submitted that the AAP were encroachers of land from 2017 onwards. The court also clarified that the party was not a lawful occupant of the land after 2017, which cannot be denied and is giving them the liberty to pursue their rights.

Senior Advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for AAP, apprised the court that they were allotted the land in 2015 by the government of Delhi.

However, CJI commented to the AAP's counsel that, being part of the court, he can't say that land cannot be given to the High Court.
AAP's counsel said that a month before the election, they will be on the road if they vacate the land now. He informed the court that the government is allotting them land far away in Badarpur.

The court remarked that the land belonged to the high court. The senior advocate apprised the court that they were allotted the land in 2015 by the government of Delhi.

Aam Aadmi Party has earlier informed the Supreme Court that it has not not encroached on any land of the court and the premise were officially allotted to the AAP by the Delhi Government for its State Unit Office in 2015

In an application filed before the Supreme Court, AAP has countered the allegations of alleged encroachment of judicial land. The Supreme Court had earlier expressed its shock when it came to knowing that a political party's political office is located on a plot that was allotted to the Delhi High Court.

The court was dealing with a matter pertaining to judicial infrastructure across the country.

In the earlier hearing, the Supreme Court issued various directions to the Delhi government in relation to the construction of judicial infrastructure in the national capital.

In pursuance of the order of the top court, a meeting chaired by the Acting Chief Justice of the High Court of Delhi was convened, which was attended by the Chief Secretary, GNCTD, Principal Secretary (Law), Principal Secretary (PWD), Secretary (Finance), other officers of GNCTD and L&DO was held in December. Various decisions were taken at the meeting.

The construction of a residential project comprising 70 residential units for judicial officers commenced at Dwarka in October 2014.

The construction, however, came to a standstill due to structural defects, which endangered the construction.

A report has been submitted by CBRI, Roorkee, highlighting the substandard quality of construction. The project is stalled and there is no other ongoing project for the construction of residential units for judicial officers in Delhi. The final decision in regard to the future course of action in respect of the residential project at Dwarka will have to be taken, the court noted.

The L&DO of the Union government shall take steps to ensure that possession of the vacant area available for the Rouse Avenue Project is handed over to the High Court of Delhi expeditiously and, in any event, by December 31, 2023, the top court also said.

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