Mehrauli Archaeological Park houses many monuments and heritage structures. Many of them are protected by ASI and the Delhi State department of archaeology. Recently, INTACH has recognized the severe threat that the monuments face in Mehrauli Archaeological Park, a prime example being the Tomb of Khan Shahid which has recently been whitewashed and defaced. There is an urgent need for proper management of the site. INTACH has filed a public interest litigation (PIL) to maintain, preserve, and ensure there is no further decay and destruction of the ancient monuments which are situated within the Mehrauli archaeological park, Delhi and also for directions / orders to ensure protection, maintenance and preservation of old monuments and cultural heritage in the park . INTACH has submitted a list of monuments and a map to help delineate the boundary of the park. DDA, DTTDC, ASI, South MCD, and Waqf Board have been made parties and are made liable to participate in the delineating the boundary of the Mehrauli Archaeological Park.
NTACH Delhi Chapter has actively taken up cases to protect heritage at risk. To ensure preservation of threatened heritage structures, the Chapter has effectively networked with local government bodies, and on occasions it has also approached the Courts at various levels to seek orders for redressal. Some legal initiatives undertaken by the Delhi Chapter of INTACH include:
Nizamuddin Railway Station Case, 1994
A petition was filed against Northern Railway’s proposal to expand the Nizam-ud-din Railway Station in an insensitive manner. INTACH Delhi Chapter along with the Nizam-ud-din Residents Welfare Association filed a petition in the High Court against the proposal and succeeded in preserving the original splendor of the building.
India Gate Cannopy Issue, 1996
There were proposals afloat to demolish the Cannopy of King George V in front of India Gate. To forestall such action the Delhi Chapter in association with the Conservation Society of Delhi filed a PIL, demanding a stay on the proposal. A division bench of the High Court admitted the PIL and restrained the Government from removing, altering or even modifying the canopy.
The Connaught Place and Rajiv Chowk Issue, 1996
NTACH Delhi Chapter along with the Conservation Society of Delhi filed a PIL in the High Court against the renaming of Connaught Place and Connaught Circus, as Rajiv Chowk and Indira Chowk respectively, which would destroy their historic connotations. This case is still pending in the High Court of Delhi, though, in the course of time, the issue may well be forgotten.
The Wazukhana case, Jama Masjid, 1999
In 1999, an unauthorized structure was erected on the southern side of the Jama Masjid. A Public Interest Litigation was filed in the High Court and INTACH Delhi Chapter succeeded in getting the illegal structure demolished.
Regulation for Protecting Heritage Properties, 2003
INTACH Delhi Chapter and DDA conducted a pioneering listing exercise and published the results in two volumes in 2000. As a result, two local government bodies namely MCD and NDMC, issued appeals in the newspapers in 2002 for the protection of listed buildings in their areas of jurisdiction. Despite these appeals, more than eight buildings were demolished between 2002 and 2003. This prompted INTACH Delhi Chapter to file a Public Interest Litigation in the Court pleading urgent formulation of building regulations to ensure the enforcement of heritage protection. As a result of this case, an apex body, the Heritage Conservation Committee (HCC) was constituted by the Ministry of Urban Development in 2005, to monitor the heritage of Delhi. The objective of HCC is to examine all activities pertaining to heritage structures and persuade the civic authorities to issue notifications for protection of heritage buildings. The HCC is now functioning in a manner similar to the Delhi Urban Art Commission (DUAC) to enhance the quality of Delhi’s urban environment.
Police Memorial, Chanakyapuri, 2004
IOn an initiative by INTACH Delhi Chapter, a petition signed by about 150 eminent citizens was submitted to the President, Prime Minister, Minister of Home Affairs to oppose the design of the Police memorial structure proposed to be constructed in Chanakyapuri. It was planned to be approximately 150 feet high and would have obstructed the view of Rashtrapati Bhavan from Shanti Path, besides becoming an incongruous element in Lutyen’s Delhi. The Delhi High Court stayed the construction of the Memorial and the proposal was referred back to the DUAC which their recommended that the structure be removed /shifted and a new design worked out.
Overhead Metro near Qutub Minar Complex, 2006
The Delhi Metro has done a remarkable job in Delhi, but some of its proposals were perceived to be inimical to the heritage ambience of the city. An aggressive campaign was therefore launched in 2006 against the building of the overhead metro line near the Qutub Minar Complex. After considerable debate and discussions, the campaign was successful, leading to the diversion of the overhead metro line to an alternate route.