Days after 70 people died after an illegal building collapsed in east Delhi's Laxmi Nagar, the Supreme Court (SC) said on Thursday that the Capital's civic bodies - the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) and Delhi Development Authority (DDA) - treated Delhiites as 'pigs' and not as 'human beings'.
A special bench of Justices VS Sirpurkar, P Sathasivam and GS Singhvi lashed out at the civic agencies and added that the cost of a citizen's life in the Capital was cheaper than that of an animal.
"There is no difference between a human being and an animal in this city. Families of the dead in the recent incident have got Rs 2 lakh, while a bakra was sold for the same amount on Eid," the bench said.
The court expressed its concern after amicus curiae Ranjit Kumar drew its attention to the four-day-old incident.
The common man is a victim of the civic bodies' negligence, as encroachment and building collapse has become a routine affair, the court added.
Kumar supported the court's view and said the existing master plan permitted an extra fourth-floor that was putting pressure on the city's already dilapidated infrastructure.
Standing up for the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD's) defence, senior counsel Sanjeev Sen told the court that the government of India was responsible for drafting the master plan and the civic body was just an implementing authority.
At this, the court said: "Why does the government make laws that create such problems. The existing master plan declared 2,500 streets commercial. Where is the space for parking and other civic amenities? Why does the government bring in such laws that result in such type of tragedies"?
The court expressed its anguish during the hearing of the sealing matter while it took up an individual petitioner's application seeking permission to construct an additional floor on an existing building.