Willing to become sealing officer: Manoj Tiwari to SC

New Delhi: Delhi Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief Manoj Tiwari, facing contempt proceedings, told the Supreme Court on Monday that he was willing to become Sealing Officer and will take
action against all unauthorised constructions in the national capital to make the city a better liveable and lawful place within four years.

Filling an affidavit in pursuant to a contempt plea filed against breaking the lock of a sealed premises in Delhi’s Gokulpur village, Tiwari said that he has “not disobeyed” orders of the apex court’s Monitoring Committee and hence no contempt has been committed by him.

The BJP leader also requested a bench, headed by Justice Madan B Lokur, to abandon the Monitoring Committee and allow him to assist the court in the sealing actions being done across the city.
“The deponent (Tiwari) most respectfully submits that he is ready and willing to accept the role of Sealing Officer to assist this court in executing its directions with regard to the sealing actions to clean the city and to make it a better place to live,” Tiwari said.

Tiwari will act in the most judicious and legal manner to bring out the most effective implementation of the sealing action and shall in no manner adopt a “pick and choose” method in carrying out duties as a responsible officer of this court, unlike the present Monitoring Committee, the affidavit stated.

“The deponent as a Sealing Officer shall uphold the rule of law as an elected representative of the people and as a member of the Parliament and shall assist this court as its Sealing officer in carrying out the rule of law in the most opaque and transparent way,” added the response filed by Tiwari.

Earlier, the apex court had asked Tiwari to file affidavit on the contempt plea filed against him for breaking the sealing of a premises.

The bench had taken strong exception to Tiwari’s statement in which he said that the apex court appointed Monitoring Committee was not sealing thousands of unauthorised buildings, and observed: “You (Tiwari) give us a list of those places, we’ll make you the sealing officer.”

Filling an affidavit, Tiwari alleged that the East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) sealed the premises without any authority of law and that the Monitoring Committee and civic agencies are sealing premises/buildings which are protected under the Delhi Special Protection Act.

He further stated that the sealing involved in this case is an illegal sealing action carried out by the EDMC officials which has noting to do with the Monitoring Committee appointed by this court or orders of this court.

Tiwari said he had broken the EDMC seal as a “symbolic protest” against the illegal action of the EDMC officials as they carried out the sealing action contrary to the specific provisions of law and also contrary to the principles of natural justice.

“By their illegal action, the EDMC threw the citizens on road without even complying with the principles of natural justice,” his affidavit stated, adding: “The Monitoring Committee and EDMC are misusing the authority of this court by trying to sensationalise the whole issue.”

The EDMC officials carried out the sealing action without any authority of law and beyond their statutory power, he contended.

The officials of the Corporation under the garb of the Monitoring Committee is acting in an absolutely “arbitrary manner and creating terror” in the mind of the general public,” Tiwari added.

The court on had earlier termed the action of Tiwari “unfortunate” and said it showed a “disturbed affair where a member of Parliament was alleged to have broken the seal of some premises” despite sealing operation in line with orders passed by the apex court.

The contempt plea had sought stringent action against Tiwari.

Filing the contempt plea, the Monitoring Committee had contended that members of political parties and others were intentionally and deliberately violating the court’s order of not to interfere in the sealing drive against illegal and unauthorized constructions in the city.

An First Information Report (FIR) was also registered against Tiwari for illegally breaking the lock under section 188 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and 461 and 465 of the Delhi Municipal Corporation (DMC) Act.

Time and again, the apex court warned political leaders not to politicise the issue of sealing and had earlier issued contempt notice to BJP MLA O.P. Sharma and Municipal Councillor Gunjan Gupta for preventing the committee for taking action against unauthorized constructions in Delhi.

However, both were let off after they tendered an unconditional apology.

The sealing drive in Delhi is being carried out by a Supreme Court-appointed Monitoring Committee against business establishments using residential properties for commercial purposes. It is being implemented by three BJP-led Municipal Corporations of Delhi.