SC pulls up Delhi Development Authority over sealing drive, says it is worried only about traders, not common man

New Delhi:  The Supreme Court on Wednesday pulled up the Delhi Development Authority over the sealing drive in the national capital, observing that the housing authority was not concerned with the common people of the city but worried only about traders.

A view of Supreme Court of India in New Delhi. PTI

A view of Supreme Court of India in New Delhi. PTI

The top court said the DDA does not notice people until they come out in the streets.

The scathing remarks by a bench comprising justices MB Lokur and Deepak Gupta came after the counsel of the DDA informed the court that traders in the national capital have been staging protests against the sealing drive run under the supervision of the apex court- appointed monitoring committee.

"You (DDA) are working under tremendous pressure. DDA is not concerned about common people, they do not concern you. Are common people of Delhi irrelevant to you. For you only traders are your concern but not the common people," the bench observed.

If people engaged in electricity theft staged protests, then will the concerned authority waive off the penalties under pressure, the court asked.

"If people don't stage protest they don't come into your notice. You should strike a balance between traders and common people. You should first look after the interest of common people then you should look after the interest of traders," the bench observed.

Counsel for the DDA said that it is looking after the interest of the common people but was just informing about the protests staged by the traders.

"Then it means if you are not trader, DDA will not recognise you," the top court said.

The apex court said that it would consider the reports of the DDA, Municipal Corporations and other concerned parties after two weeks.

On 6 March, the apex court had stayed any "further progress" in amending the Delhi Master Plan 2021 to protect unauthorised construction from the ongoing sealing drive in the national capital, sternly observing that 'dadagiri' (bullying tactics) must stop.

The apex court took strong exception to the non-filing of affidavits by the Delhi government, Delhi Development Authority (DDA) and municipal corporations of Delhi (MCDs) on whether an environment impact assessment was conducted before proposing amendments to the city's Master Plan despite the court's 9 February direction.

It had observed that the authorities were "not bothered" and were not filing affidavits despite the court order, which was "nothing short of contempt".

The Master Plan-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 at 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 apex court had also ordered restoration of its monitoring panel to identify and seal offending structures.

The committee, comprising KJ Rao, former advisor to the Election Commission, Bhure Lal, chairman of the Environment Pollution Control Authority, and Major General (Retd) Som Jhingan, was set up on 24 March, 2006, by the apex court.

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Updated Date: Mar 28, 2018 21:53:09 IST

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