SC: Regularize Illegal Constructions Adhering with Existing Law in Delhi

Debangana Ray

Published on July 27, 2022 at 19:50 IST

Observing that more than one-fourth of Delhi would be demolished if all constructions done illegally are razed, the Supreme Court said such constructions could be regularized if they are now in conformity with the present norms and those premises which were sealed could be de-sealed after slapping penalty on on their owners.

A Bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and M M Sundresh said that those constructions, which are capable of being regularized, should be regularized and the rest should be demolished.

The Bench said that all the affected residents of Delhi, who claim that their constructions are in compliance of the present norms, can approach SC-appointed monitoring committee and government panel headed by Delhi chief secretary for unsealing of their premises.

The court said that it will decide their plea after hearing  the view of the committees. The Bench stated that:

“Time should be given to them to comply and if they do not comply then demolition be done. If capable for regularization then the constructions should be regularized in cases where they were earlier violators but not violating the norms now.

“Realistic view has to be taken. If it is feasible to bring such constructions within the present norms then penalty should be imposed and regularize them.”

The Court, however, made it clear that illegal constructions must be demolished if they cannot be regularized and said that there should be no sympathy for violators of law and also pulled up the government for not enforcing the law over the years leading to massive unauthorized and illegal constructions across the national capital.

The Court questioned the centre for repeatedly bringing ordinances to protect illegal constructions and said that the government should take care of the whole Delhi and not only central Delhi.

The court took up the sealing matter after a gap of two years and now burdened with numerous applications filed by the aggrieved residents whose shops and premises were sealed.

The case has been going on in the apex court for the last 37 years and it started when environmentalist M C Mehta filed a petition in 1985. The court said that the case could not go on indefinitely and the proceeding had to be wrapped up in a phrased manner.

Senior Advocate A D N Rao, who is assisting the court as amicus curiae submitted that the court should first examine the review plea seeking re-examination of its verdict by which it was held that court- appointed monitoring committee was not empowered to take action for sealing and demolition for unauthorized constructions and its role was confined too act against misuse of residential premises for commercial use.

Rao said that many people filed applications after the apex court verdict and sought unsealing of unauthorized constructions on the ground that the committee was not empowered to take action.

In August 2020, the apex court stated that the monitoring committee appointed by it in 2006 has never had a power to undertake a sealing drive against unauthorized construction apart from action against misuse of residential premises for commercial purpose and encroachment of public land.

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