Chief Justice Jokes With Abhishek Singhvi In Delhi Land Case, He Responds

Chief Justice DY Chandrachud joked with top lawyer Abhishek Singhvi during the hearing

New Delhi:

Intense arguments in the case related to Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) alleged encroachment were interspersed with some humour this afternoon when Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud told senior advocate Abhishek Singhvi that he should not have appeared for the political party in this case. “In this matter, you should not appear. You cannot oppose land for Delhi High Court. You should be supporting us,” the Chief Justice told Mr Singhvi in a lighter vein.

The court today ordered the Arvind Kejriwal-led party to vacate the plot on Delhi’s Rouse Avenue, now called Deen Dayal Upadhyay Marg, by June 15. It noted that the land was allotted to the Delhi High Court for expanding its infrastructure.

The three-judge bench of Chief Justice Chandrachud and Justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra has asked AAP to approach the Land and Development office for an alternate plot for its headquarters. The court said it would request the Land and Development office to respond to AAP’s application within four weeks. The department comes under the Centre’s Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.

Arguing on behalf of AAP, Mr Singhvi said the party is entitled to a plot for its headquarters and underlined that it is among six national parties in the country. “I cannot be put on the road ahead of the elections. This matter can be solved through some political cooperation,” said Mr Singhvi, also a senior Congress leader. He said the party has been offered a plot in Badarpur. “They are telling us that as a national party, we get nothing. I am given Badarpur, while others are at better places. Let all the parties then relocate to Badarpur,” Mr Singhvi said.

The Chief Justice responded, “You are using our good offices to get a plot. How can we permit it?”

In the course of the arguments, Mr Singhvi also said the Delhi High Court is his parent court. “I don’t want them to be denied space,” he said.

Appearing for the Centre, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said AAP must vacate the plot. “How can they hold the Supreme Court and High Court to ransom,” he asked.

The Supreme last month pulled up AAP over the alleged encroachment. “No one can take law into their own hands. How can a political party sit tight on that? Unencumbered possession must be given to the High Court. What will the High Court use it for? Only for the public and citizens. Why was the land then allotted to the High Court?” the Chief Justice had said.

The court took note of the matter while looking at cases related to judicial infrastructure across the country.

The AAP has denied allegations of encroachment. It has said the plot was allotted to the party by the Delhi government. Mr Singhvi today said the plot was allotted to AAP in 2015. Amicus Curiae K Parmeshwar pointed out that the plot was earmarked in 2022 for the construction of family courts, and noted that nothing was brought to the notice of the High Court to show that the land had been allotted to any political party.


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