Amenities at Army vets plots: HC tells DJB to act
The Delhi high court on Monday asked the Centre to take a decision within four months on the regularisation of land allotted to 53 war veterans, residing in the Sainik Farms area while hearing their plea seeking basic facilities like water and sewerage.
The plea stated that the 65-acre land allotted in 1961 by an order of defence ministry for residential purpose is authorised and duly registered under the records.
The court, however, noted that the land allotted to the petitioners was an agricultural land and cannot be used for residential purposes.
Justice Jayant Nath asked the secretary, ministry of defence, to convene a meeting of functionaries and said that secretary, ministry of urban development and Delhi’s chief secretary may also be a part of the committee to take an expeditious decision.
The court also directed the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) to provide potable drinking water to the petitioners, adding that they cannot be deprived of a right to access to drinking water merely on the ground that it is an unauthorised colony.
“Merely because the petitioners were allotted the plots cannot be a ground to insist that the area is for residential purposes. The contention of the petitioners to the contrary claiming that the area is a residential area is a misplaced..,” the judge said.
The petition had claimed that currently water is being supplied for drinking purposes through four tube wells as an interim arrangement which is being maintained by the Residents Welfare Association (RWA).
The petitioners contended that the despite paying all taxes and having their property duly registered, they have been denied basic amenities. It has said their land has been declared as unauthorised and hence the MCD is not permitting any repair work or granting sanctions for building plans.
In 2019, the Centre had notified the National Capital Territory of Delhi (Recognition of Property Rights of Residents in Unauthorised Colonies) Regulations, 2019 — to regularise 1,700 unauthorised colonies. The notification, however, stated that ownership rights will not be conferred on affluent unauthorised colonies. The Union ministry of housing and urban affairs has identified 69 such affluent colonies, which includes Freedom Fighters Enclave, Neb Sarai Extension area, Chattarpur Enclave, Sainik Farms, Mahendru Enclave and Anant Ram Dairy, among others.
The court noted that the “peculiar” circumstances of the case and said that it cannot be denied that the land was given for the residential purposes to the veterans. “Keeping in view the above facts and circumstances, in my opinion, the respondents are duty bound to take an appropriate decision based on the cogent facts regarding the status of the said area known as ‘Defence Services Enclave’,” the court said in a 21-page judgment.
There was no response to the court judgment from the Delhi Jal Board, the ministry of housing and urban affairs, South Delhi Municipal Corporation and Delhi Development Authority (DDA).