SC says regular bench will take up allegations of inaction over Delhi sealing drive
A monitoring committee has said that Delhi civic agencies have refused to carry out the sealing drive on the grounds that amendments in the Master Plan of Delhi-2021 were not finalised yet and the issue of notifying mixed-land use along 351 roads was pending in the Supreme Court.delhi Updated: Jun 14, 2018 18:05 IST
The Supreme Court on Thursday left it to its bench, which is already seized with the contentious issue of sealing of unauthorised constructions in the national capital, to consider the allegations of inaction by civic bodies in going ahead with the sealing drive.
A vacation bench comprising justices UU Lalit and Deepak Gupta said that reports filed in this regard by the monitoring committee, which is mandated by the top court to identify and seal unauthorised constructions in Delhi, should be considered by the regular bench which is hearing the matter.
In its two reports, the committee has claimed that civic agencies, including the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC), have refused to carry out the sealing drive on the grounds that amendments in the Master Plan of Delhi-2021 were not finalised yet and the issue of notifying mixed-land use along 351 roads was pending in the apex court.
“We are sitting in a vacation court. We have not dealt with the matter. Another bench is dealing with it,” the bench said, adding, “Let this matter be listed before the regular bench”.
Justice Lalit also observed that the Delhi government’s application on the issue relating to notifying mixed-land use along 351 roads in Delhi was under consideration of a bench headed by Justice Madan B Lokur that had posted it for hearing on July 11.
The move of notifying mixed-land use along 351 roads is intended to avoid sealing drive against commercial establishments along these roads.
“Why should we, at this juncture, hear this?,” the bench said, adding, “the application (by Delhi government) was not rejected outright (by the court) then why we should change the course?”
The bench also said that on May 15, the court had sought reply from the monitoring committee on the application filed by the Delhi government and had posted the matter for hearing on July 11.
“If that bench had granted you time (to respond), this means that they must have something in mind,” the bench said.
“We deem it appropriate that report numbers 120 and 121 (filed by the committee) be listed before the bench taking up these matters on July 11. We give liberty to the amicus curiae to mention the matter before the court immediately after re-opening of court in case of any urgency,” the bench said.
At the outset, senior advocate Ranjit Kumar, assisting the court as amicus curiae in the sealing matter, referred to the May 15 order passed by the court which had said that the committee would continue with its duties and responsibilities.
He said that after the May 15 order, the committee asked the officials concerned to carry out sealing in their respective areas, but the officials refused to do so saying government has instructed them not to proceed till amendments in Master Plan of Delhi-2021 were finalised.
Master Plan of Delhi-2021 is a blueprint for urban planning and expansion in the metropolis to ensure overall development and the proposed amendments are aimed at bringing a uniform floor area ratio (FAR) for shop-cum-residential plots and complexes on par with residential plots.
FAR is the ratio of a building’s total floor area (gross floor area) to the size of the land on which it is built.
Kumar said that in Rajouri Garden area of Delhi, officials have not proceeded with the sealing drive saying that issue of notifying mixed-land use along 351 roads was pending before the top court.
To this, the bench observed that the bench headed by Justice Lokur was hearing the matters related to sealing, including that of these 351 roads.
On June 12, the amicus had mentioned the matter before the bench for urgent listing. The monitoring committee, comprising KJ Rao, former advisor to the Election Commissioner; Bhure Lal, chairman of Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority; and Major General (Retd) Som Jhingan, was set up on March 24, 2006, by the top court.
The court had on May 24 rejected the Centre’s plea seeking modification of its order in which the DDA was asked to invite suggestions from the public on amending the Master Plan of Delhi-2021.
The top court had on May 15 accepted the DDA’s action plan in which it had listed steps including launching of an interactive website and a smart phone application to enable the public register their grievances regarding illegal constructions and given the authority 15 days time to make it operational.
Earlier, the court had on March 6 stayed any “further progress” in amending the Master Plan of Delhi-2021 to protect unauthorised construction from ongoing sealing drive, sternly observing that this ‘dadagiri’ (bullying tactics) must stop.