Sarvodaya Enclave’s Writ Petition against the SAES Engineering College – a report

The Sarvodaya writ petition was filed by the Sarvodaya Co-operative Housing Society, Sarvodaya Enclave Residents Welfare Association (SERWA), and Sarvodaya Enclave residents Dr. Rajiv Kumar, Mr. Mukesh Sakuja and Mr. C.N. Ravi Kumar against the Respondents, namely, SDMC, DDA, PWD, AICTE, South Delhi Transport Department, Traffic Police and Sri Aurobindo Education Society (SAES).

The main relief sought by the Sarvodaya writ petition is the setting aside of the AICTE approval dated 30th April 2015 permitting SAES to set up an engineering college in the campus built on the DDA-leased 9.84 acres of land {where the Mirambika Free Progress School (“Mirambika”) was located since its recognition over two and half decades ago and existed till 14th April 2015}. An application for interim relief was also filed seeking stay against construction by SAES in the Mirambika building.

The Sarvodaya petition was initially tagged with Writ Petition No. 4535 of 2015 and Writ Petition No. 6790 of 2015 filed by parents of some Mirambika students challenging the shifting of the school on 14th April 2015. The applications for interim relief in Writ Petition No. 4535 of 2015 and Writ Petition No. 6790 of 2015 were dismissed by Justice Endlaw by his order dated 7th July 2016. However, a stay order earlier granted by Justice Bhakru against SAES altering the building where Mirambika was recognised and existed till 14th April 2015 still continues to be in force. While some reports indicate that SAES is not obeying the said stay order, pending vacation of the said stay order, SAES cannot act on the approval granted by the AICTE on 30th April 2015 to set up an engineering college in the DDA-leased premises where Mirambika was recognised and located pre-14th April 2015 without risking action for contempt of the Court.

The Sarvodaya writ petition has since been de-tagged and listed separately. SAES has filed a Counter Affidavit to which a Rejoinder was filed on behalf of SERWA (Petitioner No. 2) on 8th Feb 2017. SAES has also filed a reply to the application for interim relief. Counter Affidavits have also been filed by PWD and the Transport Department and status reports have been filed by the DDA and the Traffic Police. The SDMC and the AICTE have not yet filed their respective replies.

The Sarvodaya writ petition last came up before Justice Indermeet Kaur on 10th Feb 2017. In view of the Deputy CM & Education Minister, Govt of Delhi recently suspending a senior DoE official for fudging facts and directing the DoE stating to file an application before the High Court to withdraw its earlier affidavit and replace it with a fresh affidavit stating the correct facts and that the Mirambika school be shifted back to its pre-14th April 2015 premises, the Petitioners sought time to place the foregoing on record. When Mirambika shifts back to its pre-14th April 2015 premises based on the fresh affidavit to be filed by the DoE in the High Court, the AICTE approved location and building for the college would no more be available to SAES.

Justice Indermeet Kaur asked the DDA its stance as to whether SAES could establish a college in terms of the lease deed but despite the DDA’s show cause notice to SAES against the college on record; the DDA’s lawyer was not in a position to respond. Further, the Judge noted that SDMC and AICTE had not filed their replies to the Sarvodaya writ petition and granted them one last opportunity to do so. The next hearing of this matter has been fixed for 15th May 2017.

In a very recent development, the Deputy CM & Education Minister, Govt of Delhi has asked the CBI to undertake an investigation against the DoE for inter alia having conducted itself contrary to its own and other public records in relation to the 14th April 2015 shift of Mirambika. The result of this investigation is likely to affect the Sarvodaya writ petition as well.

 

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