New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday sought the Centre and city government's responses on a PIL challenging an NCT law and its recent amendment by which unauthorised constructions up to June 1, 2014 have been protected from punitive action.
Prior to the latest amendment to National Capital Territory of Delhi Laws (Special Provisions) Second Act, 2011, unauthorised constructions only up to February 8, 2007 were protected.
A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice RS Endlaw issued notice to the Ministry of Home Affairs and Delhi government and sought their replies by May 4 on a PIL by NGO, Campaign for People Participation in Development Planning which has challenged the constitutional validity of the Act.
The petition, filed though advocate Anil K Aggarwal, has said that by ordering a "complete embargo" on any punitive and coercive action against encroachment on public land and utilities and unauthorised and irregular construction of building, a "free hand" has been given to the violators of law to deface coordinated spatial planning of Delhi.
It has sought quashing of the Act and amendment and declaring all effects of the legislation as "ab initio null and void".
It has raised the apprehension that if something is not done soon to bring the effect of these legislation to naught, then "the day is not far when instead of serving as a model of urban development for other parts of the country to follow, the chaotic Delhi will wither and collapse under the burden of ill-planned, haphazard growth".
It has alleged that by way of these legislation, the government have "belied the promises held out by it to all law-abiding citizens for the last more than 7 years that after notification of Master Plan - 2021, no haphazard/unplanned development, construction and use of buildings and encroachments over public land and utilities, beyond February 8, 2007 shall be tolerated or overlooked". The petition has alleged the laws were enacted by the Centre to "cover up their failure" to prevent unplanned development as well as encroachments over public land and utilities.
The PIL has said the Centre "enacted the legislation against all norms of disaster mitigation, knowing that all unplanned/illegal constructions and development, rapidly erected overnight, inherently structurally unsafe and entail immense risk to lives of the people occupying the same".
It has sought directions to the Centre and city government "to facilitate the municipalities to frame improvement scheme for the unplanned colonies with the active participation of the councillors, elected representatives of the people".
The petition has also asked for directions to the government "to constitute a metropolitan planning committee to assimilate and coordinate development plans and improvement schemes prepared by the respective municipalities".