KATHMANDU, April 26: The Supreme Court on Wednesday issued a temporary order to halt the construction of a building belonging to Maharjan Business Associates Pvt Ltd on the premises of Kathmandu Durbar Square.
A single bench of justice Tanka Moktan issued the order following a hearing on a public interest litigation filed by an organization named Pro Public and the locals claiming that it is illegal to construct a business mall in the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The court has summoned both the plaintiffs and the defendant for another hearing for Sunday.
Stating that the construction of the business building in the place of archaeological importance violates the cultural rights of the people by violating the UNESCO standard, the petition was lodged on Monday. The petitioners have also challenged the agreement signed between the Department of Archaeology and the Maharjan Business Associates Pvt Ltd on October 3, 2016 arguing that such an agreement should never exist.
Claiming that Hanumandhoka area has been protected as archaeological heritage site under Monument Zone Bylaws, 2006 and Ancient Monument Preservation Act 1956, the petitioners lodged the petition in the apex court seeking its intervention to prevent the defendant to stop the construction of the building. The Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Minister and the Kathmandu Metropolitan City named defendants in the petition.
On December 22, UNESCO had issued a statement giving its approval to the ongoing construction but later reverted its statement following pressure from concerned authorities and strong protests by the locals.