A Delhi High Court bench of acting chief justice Gita Mittal and justice C Hari Shankar, while expressing concern over the large number of coaching institutes in residential areas of the city causing parking woes and other inconveniences to residents, said that it was considering staying the conversion of commercial establishments that have not adhered to the norms provided under the Master Plan of Delhi. The North Delhi Municipal Corporation also received a dressing down from the court, for filing a status report which lacked the details sought by it.
The high court said that such coaching centres are running with the ‘active connivance’ of the MCD officials, who need to be sent to jail. “We have made clear that the law has to be complied with strictly,” the bench said, adding that ‘at least follow our direction on compliance’. It said that merely because the master plan permits mixed-use or conversion of a property in an area, residential buildings cannot be used for commercial purpose, without complying with the building norms. “There can be no excuse for non-compliance,” it said.
The court asked the corporations, “Why shouldn’t we stay all these conversions? Delhi will breathe. What kind of planning is this? The whole street has been converted into a coaching area, with institutes coming up neck to neck. Did you check if there was sufficient parking space for vehicles of students and staff coming to these institutes? Did you look into the inconvenience faced by residents there?”
The court was unhappy with the civic body’s status report, which lacked details of the number of institutes in its area, the students in each at any given point of time, as well as how many vehicles are coming to the coaching centres, as was sought by it on the last date.
“How dare you file rubbish like this? We never gave a direction to conceal information. We asked you to go there and inspect. Go and stand on the road and calculate the number of vehicles coming and going,” an angry court said to the lawyer representing the North MCD. “You should help us do justice,” it told the corporation and directed it to file a better status report.