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Supreme Court stays construction in 1,797 unauthorised colonies in Delhi

The sealing drive in Delhi is being carried out by an SC-appointed monitoring committee.

Supreme Court stays construction in 1,797 unauthorised colonies in Delhi
File photo - MCD official seals a shop during a sealing drive in East Delhi in March 2018

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday stayed construction in 1,797 unauthorised colonies of Delhi. The apex court said that any construction in unauthorised colonies that does not adhere to building by-laws must stop immediately.

It also asked the central government to set up a special task force for removing encroachments on public land and roads in the national capital. Plus, the SC rejected the Delhi Development Authority’s (DDA) appeal and refused to vacate it’s stay on proposed amendments to Delhi’s masterplan.

The apex court further agreed with senior advocate Ranjit Kumar, who is assisting it in appeals regarding unauthorised constructions being sealed in Delhi and observed that buildings in unauthorised colonies should be first made to adhere to municipal laws, as per reports.

The sealing drive is being carried out by an SC-appointed monitoring committee against business establishments using residential properties for commercial purposes. It is being implemented by the three BJP-led Municipal Corporations of Delhi.

Earlier, on April 2, 2018, expressing anguish over the strikes and 'dharnas' against the sealing drive in the national capital, the SC had said that there was a 'complete breakdown' of law and order in Delhi.

The top court had come down heavily on the Centre and other authorities for their 'failure' to do their job and had said that due to this, such a situation has arisen and had termed it a "very serious issue" concerning governance.

A bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta had asked searching questions to the Centre over the Delhi Laws (Special Provisions) Act, 2006 and subsequent legislation which protects unauthorised construction from being sealed, PTI reported.

"You cannot go on destroying Delhi. There has to be some reason," the bench had told Additional Solicitor General (ASG) ANS Nadkrani, appearing for the Centre.

At the same time, the top court had taken exception to the fact that no official data and figures were available on record regarding the number of such people residing in such colonies and unauthorised structures. It had also sought to know what action has been taken on unauthorised constructions which were not protected under the law.

The apex court had earlier ordered restoration of its 2006 monitoring committee to identify and seal such offending structures.

The monitoring committee, comprising KJ Rao, former advisor to the Election Commissioner, Bhure Lal, Chairman, EPCA and Major General (Retd) Som Jhingan, was set up on March 24, 2006, by the court.

(With PTI inputs)