The Delhi High Court, on May 31, 2017, set up a committee comprising officials from the centre and the city government, to decide the issue of regularisation of unauthorised colonies, including the posh Sainik Farms. A bench of justices S Ravindra Bhat and Navin Chawla, disapproved of the matter going ‘back and forth’, between the centre and the Delhi government and noted that it has been ‘pending for over a decade’.
“This back and forth has to go. We cannot monitor it. We want you to decide it, whatever it takes,” the court told the central government standing counsel, Anurag Ahluwalia, who appeared for the Ministry of Urban Development. The bench said that the way the issue was moving, it was sure that the situation would be the same even after 15 years. “The affidavit (of the centre and the Delhi government) says that there is no effort on regularisation of the colonies, despite the fact that both the Union of India and the government of the National Capital Territory of Delhi met on the issue, but failed to take any decision,” the bench noted.
Pointing that there is a need for some policy on the issue and it should be brought to some conclusion, the bench said that the committee should file an action taken report in eight weeks. It said that the committee will be chaired by the secretary of the Ministry of Urban Development and include the principal secretary of the Department of Urban Development (Delhi government), senior officials of the DDA, MCD, Delhi Jal Board, New Delhi Municipal Council, CPWD (Central Public Works Department), Public Works Department (PWD) and electricity distribution companies.
The court directed the committee to meet twice a month and look into all the relevant and practical aspects, while taking some view. The court’s direction came after it was informed that the Delhi government has forwarded to the centre its decision to regularise unauthorised colonies, but the union government was yet to take a decision, despite over a year having gone by. The centre, on the other hand, said no decision has been taken, as certain clarifications sought from the Delhi government have not yet been received.
After hearing the brief contentions of both sides, the bench constituted a committee to look into the steps taken by them on the regularisation issue, to substantiate the claims made by them before the court. The matter was then listed for hearing on August 18, 2017. The court was hearing PILs filed by individuals and an NGO, Paardarshita, alleging that illegal construction was rampant in Sainik Farms. The court had earlier asked the centre to take an ‘in-principle decision’ on the AAP government’s proposal to regularise unauthorised colonies in the city.