Manoj Tiwari, the president of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s Delhi unit, on Tuesday told the Supreme Court that a committee set up by the court to monitor unauthorised constructions was “terrorising” the people of Delhi, PTI reported. He said the committee had exceeded its jurisdiction and conducted its sealing drive in unauthorised colonies that had legal protection.

The court had issued Tiwari a contempt notice in September for allegedly breaking the lock of a house sealed by the East Delhi Municipal Corporation in an unauthorised colony. The notice was issued after the monitoring committee submitted a report about the incident. In an earlier hearing, Tiwari had said his action was a “symbolic protest” against civic body officials.

Tiwari’s lawyer Vikas Singh said the monitoring committee wanted to “terrorise the people of Delhi, and this is only for publicity”. Advocate ADN Rao, representing the committee, said the panel does not need any “publicity” and it was only following the court’s orders.

When asked who allowed Tiwari to break the seal, Singh said a mob of around 1,500 people had gathered at the spot and any untoward incident could have happened if Tiwari did not do so.

“Your lordships are sitting in a cosy area where nobody comes and questions you,” Singh said, on behalf of Tiwari. “But I have to answer the people on the ground...The mandate of the monitoring committee was only to stop use of residential premises for commercial purposes. What they [committee] have done is beyond the mandate.”

The bench comprising Justices Madan B Lokur, S Abdul Nazeer and Deepak Gupta reserved the verdict and said Tiwari needs to be present in court on the day of the final order.