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AAP Office Space: Delhi HC Gives Centre 6 Weeks to Decide

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) was granted permission to have a party office in the national capital on Wednesday by the Delhi High Court. The court also ordered the Centre to make a decision on the case within the next six weeks.

A bench of justice Subramonium Prasad noted that “non availability” or “pressure” cannot be the ground for the Centre to reject AAP’s request to temporarily use a house as office till the allotment of a permanent plot of land in Delhi.

The court, however, turned down AAP’s request to temporarily use its minister Imran Hussain’s house on Deen Dayal Upadhyay (DDU) Marg for office purposes, saying that the party had no right to claim it.

“I have held that they (AAP) have no right to claim the DDU Marg house. They (AAP) are entitled to a house from the general pool. Mere pressure or non-availability is no reason to reject. Their representation to be considered within six weeks’ time by a reasoned order,” justice Prasad said while pronouncing the verdict.

The court was addressing a plea filed by AAP seeking directions to the Centre to allot a housing unit from the general pool for the party office on payment of license fee, till they get a permanent setup.

The plea asserted that section 26 (iii) of the Compendium of the Allotment of Government Residences (General Pool in Delhi) Rules, 1963 allowed the president of a recognised political party to retain one residential accommodation, provided that no other allotment has been allotted to the official in any other capacity.

On May 14, the high court directed the Union housing ministry to take a call on AAP’s proposal that one of its ministers Imran Hussain was ready to forgo the land allotted to him on DDU Marg, provided it was offered to the party. However, a day later, the Centre rejected the party’s proposal saying that the same could not be transferred as it was not under ministry’s possession.

The party represented by senior advocates Rahul Mehra and Sudhir Nandrajog stressed that the Supreme Court had given AAP time till June 15 to vacate a building being used by the party as its political headquarters at Delhi’s Rouse Avenue and thus the party ought to be allotted the unit on DDU Marg on temporary basis. Mehra emphasized that a national party is entitled to a temporary office until land is given to it for construction of a permanent office and thus no prejudice would be caused if the plot on the DDU Marg were allotted to AAP.

While the Union housing ministry, represented by Kirtiman Singh, submitted that the allotment had to be made from the general pool and there was no exclusive list for the political parties. As far as the DDU Marg unit is concerned, Singh said that it had to be returned to the government, adding that though the ministry had in 2024 offered two plots in Saket, the party was yet to respond.

On March 4, the Supreme Court had given AAP time till June 15 this year to vacate a building being used by the party as its political headquarters at Delhi’s Rouse Avenue, noting that the plot of land was allotted and required for expanding judicial infrastructure for Delhi’s district judiciary. A bench headed by the Chief Justice of India Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud had observed that AAP has “no lawful right to continue on the land” after its allotment to the Delhi high court for upgrading the district judiciary’s infrastructure.

The bench, also comprising justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra, acknowledged the AAP’s concerns regarding the allotment of an alternative plot in the national capital to run its political affairs and had allowed the party to approach the Centre’s Land and Development Office (L&DO) for allotment of a different land for its offices.

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