The Delhi High Court, on May 3, 2017, said that it is the job of the union urban development minister to monitor the situation arising out of unauthorised constructions in the national capital and not that of the judiciary. The court made these remarks, while hearing several PILs filed by NGO Paardarshita and some individuals, alleging illegal construction in the upscale Sainik Farms colony.
“We do not want any affidavit from the urban development minister. We want to inform the minister that this is the situation of unauthorised construction in Delhi and you have to monitor it. It not our job to monitor it,” a bench of justices S Ravindra Bhat and Yogesh Khanna said.
Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Sanjay Jain, appearing for the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC), said there is a need to find a solution in this regard and he will take instruction, as to how it can be structurised. Senior standing counsel of the Delhi government, Rajiv Mehra said there should be a time-frame, within which both the AAP government and the Centre should sit together and find a solution to the problem of unauthorised constructions.
During the hearing, the court inquired about the number of unauthorised constructions across Delhi and how many people live in such buildings. To this, the court was informed that as per the 2011 census, there were around 1,800-2,000 illegal colonies in the city in which about 40 lakh people live. The bench had earlier questioned the centre whether it was ‘sitting on the scheme’ forwarded by the Delhi government, for regularising the posh south Delhi colony.
It had said that it was considering handing over the probe to the CBI, as the SDMC had not taken any action against its errant officials. The corporation had later placed before the bench a roadmap, on steps that the civic body proposed to take, to identify and penalise the officials who permitted illegal constructions.
The court had, however, said, “Just because people of Sainik Farms are rich, why should we differentiate between them and those in Neb Sarai (where the CBI is probing unauthorised constructions)? Why should honest people pay a premium for buying land, while people in Sainik Farms get it for a song? Go and penalise them and collect your money.”