Raze any building that is a safety risk, SC tells Delhi task force
The court has also halted changes to Delhi’s Master Plan 2021, which sought to give relief to certain violators after trader communities across the city hit the streets in protest. Thosedelhi Updated: Apr 09, 2018 23:48 IST
Any building that is hazardous must be demolished even if it was built legally, the Supreme Court told a multi-agency task force drawn up on Monday to deal with unauthorised construction and encroachment in the national capital.
“When you take a decision you must consider aspects such as fire safety, health of citizens and lives of children. A building may be legal but if it is a fire hazard or a stress on ground water, then it has to be demolished,” a bench of justices MB Lokur and Deepak Gupta said, setting out the tasks for the committee.
The bench pointed to the deadly blazes at Kamala Mills in Mumbai and Uphaar cinema in Delhi. “We all know what happened there,” the court said.
The court is hearing petitions against unauthorised constructions and misuse of residential premises for commercial purposes. It has also halted changes to Delhi’s Master Plan 2021, which sought to give relief to certain violators after trader communities across the city hit the streets in protest. Those violators are being targeted by a separate court-appointed committee carrying out sealing drives.
Additional solicitor general AS Nadkarni handed over a note on the task force. As a part of its immediate action plan, the STF will oversee the immediate compliance by all authorities to remove and demolish all encroachment and unauthorised construction from public spaces such as roads, streets, pavements, parks and gardens.
The vice-chairman of the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) will be the STF chairman. The force will comprise commissioners of the three municipal corporations, chairperson of New Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC), CEO, Delhi Jal board (DJB), secretaries of Delhi’s transport ministry and urban development.
The secretary, revenue, Delhi government, will be a member. The special commissioner of police (law and order), special commissioner of traffic police, chief fire officer and commissioner (planning) DDA are also part of the task force.
Since the representatives are from various agencies, the judges made it clear that “political” or “commercial” interest should not come in the way of the STF’s work. “You would not get a second chance, unless, like Muhammad bin Tughlaq, you want to shift the capital to some other city. Once Delhi sinks then you will have no chance. You have anyway lost 30 crucial years,” Justice Lokur told Nadkarni.
Tughlaq ruled Delhi from 1325 to 1351 and he had passed an order in 1327 to shift the capital from Delhi to Daulatabad in the Deccan region of south India. He shifted his capital back to Delhi a few years later.
Nadkarni said the task force would identify encroachments on government lands, suggest course of action to the Centre with regard to unauthorised colonies in Delhi, and oversee effective enforcement of applicable laws by the local bodies, particularly regarding violations and unauthorised constructions. He assured the force would hold a monthly meeting.
“Do not turn this committee into an ineffective one, like the way some statutory committees are under the law, which never meet despite a legal obligation,” the judge said.