Centre may extend legal immunity that spares unauthorised constructions in Delhi
The government had ensured through a law enacted three years ago that no sealing or demolition would happen to these illegal constructions in residential and commercial buildings until December 31 this year.delhi Updated: Dec 08, 2017 10:10 IST
The Centre is preparing to extend a legal immunity that spares unauthorised constructions, which came up between January 2006 and May 2014, from being sealed or demolished in the national capital.
The government had ensured through a law enacted three years ago that no sealing or demolition would happen to these illegal constructions in residential and commercial buildings until December 31 this year.
As the immunity period lapses this month, the Centre plans to amend the National Capital Territory of Delhi Laws (Special Provisions) Amendment Act, 2014. The law gave protection from punitive action to all such illegal constructions, including unauthorised colonies.
Sources said the Union housing and urban affairs ministry, which pilots the legislation, will move the Cabinet to get clearance for further amendments. But the ministry has yet to decide how much more time will be given to the owners of these unauthorised buildings.
“Once the Cabinet gives its approval, the draft bill will be introduced in Parliament’s winter session that begins on December 15,” said a ministry official, who didn’t wish to be named.
The government’s plan comes at a time the Supreme Court pulled up civic agencies in the Capital for failing to stop rampant unauthorised constructions and misuse of residential properties. The top court said on Wednesday it is considering reviving its monitoring committee that had sealed thousands of illegal commercial establishments in the city a decade ago.
When vice president M Venkaiah Naidu was Union urban development minister he had underscored in Parliament the rationale behind the government’s plan to extend the immunity period.
Besides protecting certain unauthorised constructions, the objective of the extension was to provide an “opportunity to government agencies to finalise norms, policy guidelines, feasible strategies and orderly implementation of the plan”, he had said.
However, not much progress has happened in three years.
“The process of reviewing the 2021 Master Plan, which was to be completed by 2015, has not started. The civic agencies are yet to come up with a policy framework. There is little option before the government but to extend the law,” a government source said.
According to Prof KT Ravindran, the dean emeritus at the RICS School of Built Environment, the cycle of events demonstrates the malfunctioning of instruments such as planning, implementation, development and regulation.
“It’s time to rethink the preparation process for the Master Plan. The time lag for completing the plan is so huge that by the time it is ready, things change on the ground. The recommendations become outdated and often irrelevant,” said Ravindran, who is former chairman of the Delhi Urban Arts Commission.
The bill, once cleared by Parliament, will provide immunity to all properties that have unauthorised constructions.
The buildings include commercial establishments in residential areas, high-end designer boutiques and furniture showrooms on the Mehrauli-Gurgaon Road, Shahpur Jat, Hauz Khas Village and other areas. Slums, hospitals, schools and religious institutions that have encroached on public land will also be spared.
The government doesn’t have a definite figure on the number of unauthorised constructions that came up till May 2014, but Delhi’s civic authorities said it could be more than 100,000.
First Published: Dec 08, 2017 08:17 IST