A monitoring committee, which is mandated by the court to identify and seal unauthorised constructions in Delhi, today claimed in the Supreme Court that civic bodies have refused to carry out sealing drive on the ground that amendments in Master Plan of Delhi-2021 were not finalised yet.
Master Plan of Delhi-2021 is a blueprint for urban planning and expansion in the metropolis to ensure overall development and the proposed amendments are aimed at bringing a uniform floor area ratio (FAR) for shop-cum-residential plots and complexes on par with residential plots.
FAR is the ratio of a building's total floor area (gross floor area) to the size of the piece of land on which it is built. The matter was mentioned before a vacation bench of justices U U Lalit and Deepak Gupta which said it would hear the issue on June 14.
Senior advocate Ranjit Kumar, who is assisting the top court as an amicus curiae in the sealing matter, mentioned the issue before the bench and referred to the apex court's May 15 order which had said that the monitoring committee would continue with its duties and responsibilities. He placed before the bench a report of the monitoring committee and said that government authorities have said that since the amendment in the Master Plan of Delhi-2021 was not finalised, they would not allow sealing to go on.
Kumar said that on June 8, the monitoring committee had inspected some areas in South Delhi and asked authorities concerned of South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) to take action against some unauthorised structures. "They (authorities) said we will not seal them," he said.
To this, the bench asked him to serve the copy of the report to the counsel appearing for the Delhi government, the Union of India as well as SDMC and said that the matter would be heard on June 14. Additional Solicitor General Maninder Singh, who is appearing for Delhi Development Authority (DDA) in the matter, said that he would inform the DDA about it.
The monitoring committee, comprising K J Rao, former advisor to the Election Commissioner; Bhure Lal, chairman of Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority; and Major General (Retd) Som Jhingan, was set up on March 24, 2006, by the top court. The court had on May 24 rejected the Centre's plea seeking modification of its order in which the DDA was asked to invite suggestions from the public on amending the Master Plan of Delhi-2021.
The top court had on May 15 accepted DDA's action plan in which it had listed out steps including launching of an interactive website and a smart phone application to enable the public register their grievances regarding illegal constructions and given the authority 15 days time to make it operational. The DDA had also proposed to fix responsibility on officials in cases of illegal construction activities in the national capital and violation of the master plan and building bye-laws.
In its five-page action plan, the DDA had earlier said that it intends to check all ongoing and future unauthorised constructions in the city under the supervision of a special task force which was constituted on April 25 following an apex court order.
The court had on March 6 stayed any "further progress" in amending the Master Plan of Delhi-2021 to protect unauthorised construction from ongoing sealing drive in the national capital, sternly observing that this 'dadagiri' (bullying tactics) must stop.