Sealing Drives In Delhi: SC Lashes Out At Centre For Breakdown Of Law & Order Due To Strikes

The Logical Indian Crew

April 3rd, 2018

Courtesy: Scroll, The Hindu | Image Credit: India, Hindustan Times

The Supreme Court on April 2 lashed out at the Centre and other authorities over the strikes against the ongoing sealing drives in Delhi and called it to be a “complete breakdown” of law and order in the capital city.

The SC told that such situation has arisen due to failure on the part of authorities in discharging their duties.


Bench lashes out at Centre for breakdown of law and order in Delhi

A Bench comprising of Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta questioned the Centre over the Delhi Laws (Special Provisions) Act, 2006 and other legislation which protect unauthorised constructions from being sealed.

The Bench told Additional Solicitor General (ASG) A N S Nadkrani, who was appearing for the Centre, “You cannot go on destroying Delhi. There has to be some reason.”

The Bench further told the Centre to justify its stand supporting the laws which protect the unauthorised constructions. “Tell us that there will be no ‘dharnas’ in Delhi. There is a complete breakdown of law and order in Delhi”, the Bench said.

Nadkarni told the Bench that there were around 1,400 unauthorised colonies housing around six lakh families and there was a huge gap in the demand and supply due to lakhs of immigrants in the city. The Bench took an exception on the unavailability of official data and figures on record giving the number of people residing in such colonies and unauthorised structures. The top court said, “Government and its bodies are not doing their jobs. This is an admission of failure by you that ‘I have failed to do my job, so please help us’,” the bench observed, adding, “this is a very serious issue. It is a matter of governance and people of Delhi are suffering because you are not doing your job.”

On the issue of “repeated temporary statuses”, the bench said, “Every time you tell Parliament that extend it for one more year. Can you go on like this? Please look into this, otherwise, you are befooling Parliament.” The Bench also said that the Centre cannot implement its own laws, “You do not implement your law and when we say do it, then there are strikes and all.”

The ASG said that the strikes were wrong, to which the bench told that “we do not know what is right or wrong, but this is happening.”

The court also snapped when Nadkarni told that the process of data collection was still going on. The court said, “from 2006 to 2018, you are still in the process? Do you not have any data? You had told the Parliament in 2006 that you will take some time to give data and 12 years after that, you are telling is that you do not have the data.”

To this, the Centre said that the phenomenal increase in population and that they have proposed an amendment to the Master Plan of Delhi-2021.

Nadkarni said that except for the slums and Jhuggi Jhopri (JJ) clusters, other encroachments on public lands were not protected and all the construction post January 1, 2006 were also unprotected under these laws. The court said, “According to you, was there any unauthorised colony between March 31, 2002 to January 1, 2006? If yes, what action did you take to prevent coming up of these unauthorised colonies?”

The bench also asked if facilities like sewage, drainage, parking, green areas, schools in these unauthorised colonies were present and whether the residents of these places were paying taxes.

The Bench observed, “Is this the way you are playing with the lives of the people of Delhi? People of Delhi are not relevant to you at all.”

It has asked the Centre to tell how it proposes to deal with this issue.


Delhi sealing drive

On the orders from the panel set up by the Supreme Court in 2006, the sealing drive is being conducted in many areas of the national capital. These drives are carried out to seal the outlets where residential properties are being used for commercial purpose.

“The Delhi Master Plan- 2021 was made in 2007 by the Union Government in haste and had ignored the commercial and construction activities taking place in the city, leading to the present scenario,” the proposal stated, according to a report by DNA. MCD accused the AAP-led Delhi government and said that they did not pay any attention to the issue.

The drive started on December 22 with thousands of shops being sealed based on the instructions of the monitoring committee. The shops were sealed for encroachment, illegal construction, and non-payment of conversion charge, The Indian Express reported. The civic body has sealed over 500 commercial establishments so far including basements, eateries and showrooms for illegal construction and misuse of premises.

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