Delhi: A block of flats in the heart of the Delhi Assembly constituency of Maitri was demolished on Wednesday for the first time in over three decades.
According to an official release, the block will be demolished after 30 years of legal proceedings, to ensure that the heritage value of the building cannot be diminished.
Maitri, which is located in a sprawling neighbourhood of south Delhi, is one of the most affluent and cosmopolitan neighbourhoods in the city.
The block is home to an art gallery, two restaurants, a coffee shop and a bank.
It was originally built in the 1940s, and its name was changed to Kors by the Delhi High Court.
Kors was built by architect Robert Kors, whose works include the building of the Taj Mahal.
In 2006, a group of artisans and craftsmen challenged the demolition of the block, arguing that it was a “mark of distinction and heritage” and therefore, the builder should not be forced to demolish it.
They appealed the order, and the case was heard by a three-judge bench headed by Justice K A B Sathyanarayanan.
Kor’s lawyer and another architect, P N Rajendran, were also present for the hearing.
The judge said that the building was an important part of the history of Márti and that the demolition would be done “at the earliest opportunity” after 30-years, but was overruled.
“It was a historic building and I do not want to take away its value,” the judge said.
The demolition was “unfair”, the judge added, adding that the builder must be given “all the opportunity to rehabilitate the building”.
Kors, a lawyer by profession, represented the builder before the Supreme Court in 2011, after he was forced to abandon a case brought by the local government to demolise a residential building for a hotel.
He was later granted a reprieve after he won the Supreme Commission for Historic Tracts (SCHT) award for the building.
The demolition of Kors block came after the SCHT had approved a demolition order for a block of apartments, apartments belonging to Kaur Vakilasan in the same locality, and three blocks of apartments belonging of the same architect in 2011.