The Supreme Court has dismissed a plea of Delhi University (DU) on account of inordinate delay in challenging a 2011 decision of the DDA allowing a private real estate firm to construct a high-rise in the university campus without any height restriction.
Delhi Development Authority (DDA), on May 12, 2011, had allowed M/S Young Builders (P) Ltd to construct a high-rise group housing society in the north campus of Delhi University.
Out of total three hectares land, which was earlier given to Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) by the Ministry of Defence for construction of the metro station, two hectares was leased out to the private firm for building the housing society.
The Delhi University moved a plea before a single judge bench of the Delhi High Court after a delay of seven to eight years.
The single judge bench took note of the "delay and laches" and dismissed DU's plea on April 27, 2015.
The DU did not get its act together even after dismissal of its first plea and filed the consequential intra-court appeal before a two-judge bench of the High Court after a delay of 916 days.
The larger bench of the high court declined to condone the delay of over 2.5 years in filing the appeal to challenge the judgment of 2015 and it led the DU to file an appeal before the top court.
Assailing the DDA's action to allow a high-rise building inside the campus, the DU sought condonation of delay in filing the first plea and the appeal in the high court.
The DU said the permission sought by M/s Young Builders Private Limited for construction of a group housing society in the University enclave was violative of the Master Plan of Delhi-2021 and was against the larger public interest, "given the fact that the project site in question and its vicinity are within the North Campus of the University and that it contains various historical and archaeological buildings".
It also alleged that the location of various ladies' hostels of the University in close vicinity of the proposed construction site raised "an important privacy concern".
The top court bench comprising Justices R Banumathi and A S Bopanna said it was in agreement with the two judgements of the Delhi High Court which dismissed the plea of the DU on the ground of delay and laches.
"Despite the writ petition having been filed belatedly in respect of certain actions which had commenced in the year 2005 and even though the writ petition was filed after obtaining approval of the Executive Council, no steps were taken to file the writ appeal for 916 days after disposal of the writ petition. In such circumstance, the cumulative effect of the delay and laches cannot be ignored," it said.
"We are of the opinion that not only the Single Judge was justified in holding that the writ petition inter alia is hit by delay and laches but the decision of the Division Bench in dismissing the LPA on the ground of delay of 916 days is also justified and the orders do not call for interference," the court said.