DDA has become `Delhi Destruction Authority`, says SC

The Supreme Court Wednesday castigated the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) for failing to check large-scale encroachments of public land in the city and said it was emerging as "Delhi Destruction Authority".

Updated: May 04, 2011, 20:02 PM IST

New Delhi: The Supreme Court Wednesday
castigated the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) for failing
to check large-scale encroachments of public land in the city
and said it was emerging as "Delhi Destruction Authority".

A special bench of justices V S Sirpurkar and G S
Singhvi termed as "mind-boggling" the approach of the DDA
in allegedly overlooking thousands of cases of alleged
encroachment of government land and property in the capital.

"What are you doing. You are only collecting user
charges from the unauthorised occupants. It is simply
mind-boggling.... The DDA has become a Delhi Destruction
Authority," it said.

The bench, which made the observation while dealing
with a spate of applications filed by commercial organisations
seeking de-sealing of their premises, warned the DDA that if
it failed to give a proper explanation, its vice chairperson
would have to appear in person.

The DDA drew the court`s ire after a commercial tenant
in Nehru Nagar sought de-sealing of his 160 sq yards premises
which was sealed in 2006 as part of the apex court`s earlier
orders.

The bench after going through the records wondered how
the applicant could seek de-sealing when the premises were on
an alleged encroached public land owned by the DDA.

"You are not able to explain as to why we should allow
or entertain your prayer. It seems to be an absolute mockery
of the law," the bench observed.

Turning to the DDA counsel Saharya, the apex court
asked him under what provision of the law the occupier
was allowed to encroach the land.

"We will ask the DDA to auction the land. Whatever
amount is collected, we will see that the amount proportion to
it is collected from the DDA officers responsible for it," the
bench said.

At this stage, senior counsel and amicus curiae Ranjit
Kumar told the bench that this was not an isolated incident
and more than 14,300 illegal colonies have sprouted on public
land in the capital due to the indifferent approach adopted by
the DDA.

"What are you doing. You are only collecting user
charges from the unauthorised occupants. It is simply
mind boggling. They are all public land. You are the public
trustee who is supposed to protect the land. But
they (officers) are all hand-in-glove with them for extraneous
reasons.

"The DDA has become a Delhi Destruction Authority,"
the bench said.

It asked the DDA counsel to come out with proper
explanation failing which the vice chairperson would be
summoned at the next date of hearing and posted the matter for
further hearing to the third week of July.

The apex court had in 2006 ordered sealing of several
unauthorised structures in the capital and is presently
examining the validity of the DDA`s 2021 Master Plan for Delhi
(MPD), after a bunch of petitions were filed by NGOs,
individuals and civil society members challenging the validity
of the master plan.

PTI