Delhi High Court directs MCD, DDA to frame rules for levying charges on encroachers

The Delhi High Court recently directed the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) and Delhi Development Authority (DDA) to frame rules and levy charges on encroachers for illegal encroachment of public spaces and land. 

A single bench of Justice Rajnish Bhatnagar said that encroachers should be made liable to the extent of illegal encroachment. The court remarked that there should be a clear perception through careful quantification of the charges to be recovered from the encroacher that shall be for the benefit of the public at large. 

It added that for ascertaining the charges to be recovered from the encroacher, the land-owning authorities shall take into consideration various factors such as the area of encroached land, period for which the encroached land was illegally used by the encroacher for his own personal gains, the market price or circle rate of the encroached area or as the case may be.

Justice Rajnish Bhatnagar maintained that encroachment in public places, especially footpaths and roads, by putting hoardings, stalls and furniture pieces such as tables and chairs has become so rampant that it forces the public to walk on the roads instead of sidewalks. He added that this leaves people in life-threatening situations by exposing them to vehicles plying on roads and endangers their lives.

The judgment was passed by Justice Bhatnagar while dealing with a plea filed by Kamlesh Jain seeking directions to the Delhi Police to stop an eatery named Books and Beans from playing loud music. Notably, the eatery had also encroached on public land.

Responding to the Court, the DDA and MCD stated that there was no provision under which they can impose any penalty on the encroachers and recover user charges or penalties. Hence, the Court directed the authorities to come up with a mechanism for the same. 

It further ordered the local police to ensure that no loud music is played by the eatery or any other restaurant in the area beyond 10 PM. Furthermore, it also directed the authorities to ensure that there is no illegal encroachment in the area.