NEW DELHI — The Supreme Court Oct. 24 ordered the demolition of structures built near the Taj Mahal as part of an upcoming multi-level car parking lot.
A bench of Justice Madan B. Lokur and Justice Deepak Gupta ordered the demolition, dismissing the Uttar Pradesh government's application to axe 11 trees to facilitate the project's completion.
The multi-level parking project, one kilometer from the eastern gate of the Taj, aims to ease congestion in the area, which leads to parking on roadsides due to the lack of sufficient parking space.
The project site, closer to the western gate of the 17th century monument, proposed to house 400 four-wheelers.
The Uttar Pradesh government's plea was taken up Oct. 23, with the court asking the state to file an affidavit by Oct. 24. However, when the matter was called Oct. 24, the state's lawyer was not present.
At this stage, the court has dismissed the state's application and ordered the demolition of structures that have already been built.
However, the court permitted lawyer Aishwarya Bhati to move a fresh application to seek restoration of the application dismissed Oct. 24.
Bhati mentioned the matter in the evening when the court was rising for the day and sought restoration of the application, contending that the state government's lawyer could not make it to the court because of a rush in the court corridors.
Bhati later said the plan for the multi-level parking was cleared by a court-appointed Committee on Environment, Taj Trapezium Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority, the Archaeological Survey of India and the Agra Development Authority.