After a gap of more than four years, bulldozers will be back in a big way on Delhi’s streets.
The Delhi high court on Wednesday directed the three municipal corporations to demolish illegal constructions and encroachments, especially the ones that occupy space on roads, pavements and parking spaces in markets.
A public interest litigation filed on Wednesday mentioned that 12,000 structures violated construction rules. The court gave three months to a coordination committee, which had been appointed by it in 2008, to take action and submit a report.
Sending a strong message, the court also asked the MCD to take action against officials who failed to take action so far. “Immediate prosecution of errant officials is the only way to end the menace,” the judges said.
A bench of acting chief justice D Murugesan and justice VK Jain said only properties protected by the Delhi laws (special provisions) act and constructed before January 2007 will be spared.
In September 2008, the court stopped monitoring action against encroachments and gave a free hand to the MCD, which promised timely action against illegal constructions through court-appointed committees. “What is the purpose of such committees if you are unable to take action,” the bench asked.
The petitioners, meanwhile, alleged that the problem persists due to a “nexus between MCD and the builder mafia”.