With the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) turning a blind eye towards unauthorised constructions in the city, the Central Information Commission (CIC) took it upon itself to inspect some sites.
After finding that unauthorised constructions existed, the commission sent show-cause notices to civic body officials for not furnishing information within the prescribed period of 30 days.
CIC commissioner Shailesh Gandhi now plans to write to the municipal commissioner about rampant unauthorised constructions taking place in Delhi and the corporation taking very little action to stop it.
Gandhi had got the inspection done after the civi agnecy feigned ignorance about the illegal constructions taking place in the city.
“The commission views with great distress the fact that organised illegal construction is being undertaken in the Capital, apparently with the collusion of the MCD and perhaps with other official bodies,” Gandhi said, in his order dated September 30.
The order was issued in a case of 65 Right to Information (RTI) applications of one Rajender Gupta regarding unauthorised construction in Shahdara South Zone of the civic agency.
Initially, the public information officer and superintendent engineer Ram Prakash had expressed ignorance about the illegal constructions.
When the CIC confronted him with its inspection of the sites along with video-graphed evidence, Prakash admitted to the illegal constructions but expressed his inability to book the violators for a year.
“The PIO said the demolition action is taken up depending on the whim and the will of the junior staff,” the CIC order said.
Gandhi said it is apparent that the MCD officials were interested only in covering up those indulging in illegal construction.
“A clear modus operandi which emerges in this case is that an illegal building is constructed in three to six months and during this period neither any cognisance of any complaints is taken nor any information is provided under the RTI Act,” the CIC order said, while hoping that the MCD will enforce rule of the land.
“After the whole building is constructed, it is probably claimed as an old building which needs to be regularised.”
The MCD has been asked to submit a written reply by October 20 to the penalty notice.
Under the RTI law, a maximum penalty of Rs 25,000 can be imposed on a public information officer for delay in providing the information.