New Delhi, Sep 29 (IANS) The Supreme Court Friday gave major relief to thousands of traders in the national capital by permitting them to continue their commercial activities in residential areas till Oct 31 in view of the festive season.
A three-judge bench comprising Chief Justice Y.K. Sabharwal and judges C.K. Thakker and R.V. Raveendran said the premises and commercial establishments covered by the central government's Sep 7 notification might not be sealed pending final decision by the court on the petitions challenging the validity and legality of the notification.
The bench asked those covered by this notification to give an undertaking before the monitoring committee on or before Nov 10 that they would stop the misuse as per the directions of the apex court if the Delhi Laws (Special Provisions) Act, 2006 was declared invalid and/or the notification was quashed.
Writing the interim order, Sabharwal said: 'The undertakings shall state that the trade is being conducted in respect of the permissible items and only in that of the premises in which commercial activity is now permitted as per the notification dated Sep 7 read with notification dated Sep 15 (issued by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi permitting commercial activities in about 2,200 roads/streets).'
The bench said if commercial activity had been made permissible on the ground floor, the affidavit should state that it was being carried out only in the ground floor and not on the other floors and in support a certificate of registered architect should be annexed.
Any architect giving wrong certificate would subject himself to appropriate action including cancellation of certificate to carry on the profession of architect.
The bench said: 'The city of Delhi is an example of a classical case, which for the last number of years, has been a witness of flagrant violations of municipal laws, town planning laws and norms, master plan and environmental laws.'
Tracing the sequence of events from the passing of the judgment on Feb 16, this year, up to the issuance of the impugned notifications, the bench said: 'There cannot be any doubt that the legislature would lack competence to extend the time granted by this court (to stop all commercial activities in residential areas) in the purported exercise of law making power. That would be virtually exercising judicial functions. Such functions do not vest in the legislature.'
Referring to those 50,000 and odd people who had given undertakings to stop their business activities by June 30 but could not do so in view of the subsequent notifications, the bench said that they could not continue the activities beyond Oct 31.
'Those who gave undertakings are already in breach of the undertakings by not stopping misuser by June 30,' the Bench pointed out.
The judges said: 'The dignity and authority of the court has to be protected not for any individual but for maintenance of the rule of law. The fact that those who gave undertakings may have been misled in view of the subsequent developments can only be a mitigating factor while considering the action to be taken for breach of the undertakings.'
The bench directed those who had given undertakings to stop the commercial activities on or before Oct 31, in view of the forthcoming festivals.
The bench allowed 22 categories of small shops located in residential areas in area not more than 20 square metres to<