Expedite call on Delhi’s Sainik Farms’ bid for regularisation: HC
An SC bench also questioned why the authorities have created categories of affluent and non-affluent to consider their regularisation.
The Delhi high court on Friday remarked that the residents of Sainik Farms cannot be penalised because they are rich while asking the Union government to expedite the decision on the regularisation of the colony in south Delhi.
A bench comprising chief justice Satish Chandra Sharma and justice Subramoniu Prasad, while hearing a plea by Ramesh Dugar, convener of the area development committee at Sainik Farms, for regularisation, also questioned why the authorities have created categories of affluent and non-affluent to consider their regularisation. The court’s observation came after the additional solicitor general Aishwariya Bhati told the court that they are first attending to non-affluent colonies because of the problems these colonies might be facing.
“The point is that affluent, non-affluent is immaterial….An unauthorised colony is unauthorised, be it for the poor or be it for the rich. You have to decide whether you are regularising them. If you are not, then take action accordingly. The point is that we are keeping enough householders in limbo, so they should know what their future is,” said the court, adding, “They have spent a huge amount of money in constructing their houses…They did not come overnight, it was right under your nose. We are in May already, you say that till December there is protection… decide before that what you want to do.”
The matter will now be heard on August 25.
While hearing the objections of the Union government against minor repair works in the Sainik Farms area, the court took an adverse view to the submission made by ASG that the Centre was not prioritising the affluent unauthorised colonies.
“You cannot keep harping that you are taking action for the non-affluent colonies. They (affluent colonies) cannot be criminalised because they are rich… You are penalising them because they are rich,” said justice Prasad.
Even though the bench clarified that it cannot give permission for even minor repair works and it is for the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) and the Centre to take a call on the matter, it said that the residents of Sainik Farms cannot be kept in “limbo” because they are rich.
During the hearing, the ASG told the court of a meeting of the high-powered committee which took place on May 18, and said that the Union government, Delhi government, and DDA will not take any punitive action till December 31, 2023. However, the ASG clarified that there is no provision to grant permission for repair or construction since the colonies are unauthorised. Later she assured the court to take a policy decision at the earliest and file a fresh status report.
“Sainik Farms has existed since 1965 and all construction was made under the eyes of law, including the MHA, DDA and MCD. We have been paying house tax for residential category, the authorities have also provided us electricity and other utilities yet, we are termed unauthorised. The houses are in need of immediate repairs as some were constructed way back in 1965,” said HS Bhalla, president Western Avenue Resident’s Welfare Association, Sainik Farms.
Raman Aggarwal, another resident, questioned as to what work needs to be done by the Centre when the development norms and the house charges have been already notified by the government. Additionally, Aggarwal’s petition challenging the classification of affluent and non-affluent colonies is also pending adjudication in the high court.