Delhi sealing drive against violations: Govt counsel Rohatgi fails to answer SC query on time frame

Regarding the Supreme Court monitored sealing of unauthorized constructions in Delhi, including shops and other business establishments within colonies, the bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta asked senior counsel (representing defendants Union of India) Mukul Rohatgi whether he can give word that large showrooms, such as Toyota etc. will move out of these colonies. The counsel, however, could not give a satisfactory answer.

Rohatgi had asked for time from the court so that the offenders could be moved out and rehabilitated. The court said that there are almost 24 categories of shops that basically sell daily needs stuff and they are allowed to run their business in the colonies as per the judgment of 2006.

The court said it was against the larger showrooms etc.

The original PIL, filed by M C Mehta, was principally in relation to large-scale and flagrant violations in a large number of immoveable properties throughout Delhi, flagrant violations of various laws including Municipal Laws, Master Plan and other plans besides environmental laws.

On the last date of hearing, on April 3, the court had said that there was too much corruption and the government has done nothing from the year 2006 to avoid unauthorized constructions from sprouting. The quality of water has gone down, the environment had degraded, there is no parking space and no facility and relief provided to the innocent and the poor. The court has called it an act of arbitrariness.

The bench had said: “In Delhi something illegal has been done and it must be admitted to by the government. Making laws that are arbitrary is not the solution. Protecting those constructions till 2007 is understandable, but extending the date year after year cannot be allowed and is against justice.”

In the latest act it is written that any unauthorized construction till 2020 will be protected. Eh court asked the counsel: “Do you have any plan at all? What is the solution you are proposing?”

The counsel (Rohatgi) said the Master Plan will cover most of the problems.

The court said: “The people of Delhi are important and you need to protect them at any cost.” The court then asked, “What about the unauthorized construction?”

The counsel said: “Allow us (time) to finalize the Master Plan.”

The court asked: “How much time do you need to regularise the Master Plan?”

The counsel said: “Certain propositions have been made in respect to the Master Plan.”

The court asked: “What have you done to protect the people? Roads become parking spaces and all suffer because of heavy traffic.”

The counsel for MC Mehta said: “Large scale violations have taken place. Contrary to the 1985 Act, development plans and master plan is made by the central government.”

Rohtagi had asked the court to grant time till tomorrow to file affidavit. And tyoday Rohatgi asked for a time frame.

-      India Legal Bureau