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Government suspends sealing till Sep 25
September 21, 2006 21:19 IST
The Centre and Delhi government swung into emergency action to address the highly emotive issue of sealings, which resulted in death of four persons in police firing and violence on Wednesday.
A group of ministers was set up by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to address the issue and the group met within hours to assess the situation in the capital.
After the GoM's meeting, Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit announced that the drive, ordered by Supreme Court which has taken a tough stand on illegal commercial activities, will be put on hold till next Monday.
The court will be approached with the amended Master Plan for Delhi 2001, which was notified earlier in September, according to Union Science and Technology Minister Kapil Sibal, also a member of the GoM.
However, an element of confusion prevailed with the Union Law Minister H R Bhardwaj, another member of the GoM, wondering how the sealing of buildings ordered by the Apex Court could be suspended.
The Government, which has already indicated that it might convene a special Session of Parliament and even amend the Constitution to deal with the crisis, said a final decision on this would be taken only after the outcome of the Supreme Court hearing in the issue on September 25.
Asserting that the notification issued by the government was a "legal and valid piece of legislation," Sibal said the Centre will approach the court, explaining its position and was hopeful that the court will take a reasonable view of the situation.
"Considering the enormity of the situation, we are sure that the court will take a reasonable view of the matter," he said, adding any final decision on what the "government should do or can do" on the issue will be taken only after the outcome of the court hearing.
He said the GoM was briefed about the whole situation and was extremely disturbed about the violence on the streets. Headed by Home Minister Shivraj Patil, the GoM, besides Sibal and Bhardwaj, has Union Ministers S Jaipal Reddy, Meira Kumar and Kamalnath. Since Reddy was in Mumbai, Minister of State for Urban Development Ajay Maken attended the meeting, while Kumar and Kamalnath were not present.
"It is a great tragedy. We would not like it to be repeated," he said, adding that everybody had a right to protest, but violence could not be condoned.
Appealing for peace and calm in the capital, Dikshit said her government was with all those who were involved in lawful activities and will address any problem faced by them.
"With the increasing population in the capital, there is also an increase in the requirements and needs of the people," she added. The high-level meeting was also attended by Lt Governor B L Joshi, Police Commissioner K K Paul and Additional Solicitor General G E Vahanvati.