New Delhi: Government is legalising what has been illegal, Delhi High Court said on Thursday on the recent amendment to the National Capital Territory of Delhi Laws (Special Provisions) by which unauthorised constructions up to June 1, 2014 would be protected from punitive action.
"What was illegal in previous Act, has become legal in new one (amended Act). Your (Centre) government is legalising what has been illegal," a bench of justices Badar Durrez Ahmed and Sanjeev Sachdeva observed and added, "somebody should challenge it".
The bench also said if status quo has to be maintained with respect to such properties, then it also means no further unauthorised construction should take place. It, however, said it will interpret the amendment later.
The court was hearing an NGO's PIL against unauthorised constructions in Sainik Farms in south Delhi.
The bench made the observations after the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC), represented by advocate Ajay Arora, informed the court that as per the amended law, all unauthorised constructions up to June one last year, are protected from punitive action.
Under the earlier law, unauthorised constructions up to February 8, 2007 were protected, SDMC said.
The National Capital Territory of Delhi Laws (Special Provisions) Amendment Bill, 2014, passed by the Lok Sabha in December last year, extended the validity of the NCT of Delhi Laws (Special Provisions) Second Act, 2011 upto December 31, 2017 from December 31, 2014.
It has also protected from punitive action "unauthorised colonies, village abadi areas (including urban villages) and their extensions, as existed on the 31st day of March 2002, and where construction took place even beyond date and upto June 1, 2014", SDMC informed the court.
The bench listed the matter for further hearing on March 25.
The court also said by the next date of hearing, it expects a decision would be taken by government with regard to framing a policy for regularisation of unauthorised constructions.
The remark came after Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain submitted that the issue was under consideration and will take more time.
The court in its order also directed Delhi government to positively submit within four weeks the report it had called for on December 24 last year, on the status of unauthorised constructions and images of Sainik Farms from February 2007 till date.
The court had earlier expressed hope that by January 31, 2015, a policy for fixing the penalty, regularisation charges, cost of land to be recovered from the residents of unauthorised colonies, especially Sainik Farms, would be adopted by the government after consultations with all stakeholders.
The NGO, in its plea, has contended that over 500 fresh illegal constructions having huge structures have come up in the area. Thousands of tonnes of building material were being taken there despite the court's 2007 order prohibiting the same, it added.