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SC lashes out at civic bodies over illegal construction in city

by Bhavya DubeyDecember 7, 2017

The Supreme Court Wednesday lashed out at civic authorities for failing to curb rampant illegal construction in the capital, and said it would consider restoring the court-appointed monitoring committee to act against such violations.

The court stated that “prima facie, it appears to us that the rule of law with regard to the sanction and construction of buildings in Delhi seems to have completely broken down”.

“In view of the failure of the statutory authorities to check unauthorised constructions and its misuse in Delhi, we also propose to restore the powers of the Monitoring Committee to identify and seal unauthorised premises/construction,” a bench of Justice Madan B Lokur and Justice Deepak Gupta said, adding that it will hear the parties in this regard on December 14.

Dealing with applications related to sealing of premises, the bench noted that the Monitoring Committee was set up by an order dated March 24, 2006. “In that order, it was stated that to oversee the implementation of the law relating to sealing of offending premises, it is necessary to set up a Monitoring Committee. Consequently, the Monitoring Committee was set up,” the top court said.

The bench said it had been given to understand that the committee was doing “exceptionally good work of identifying and preventing/sealing unauthorised premises in Delhi.” The court said that on January 3, 2012, it asked the committee not to seal any more premises as it “expected, hoped and believed that the authorities in Delhi would carry out their statutory duties”.
Referring to some reports filed by the committee, it said, “The hope, expectation and trust that this court reposed in the officers concerned seems to have been completely belied.”

The top court sought the assistance of the Additional Solicitor General, who is appearing on behalf of the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, to ensure that there was no further breakdown of the rule of law in construction activities.

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