The Delhi High Court has made it clear that water bodies cannot be encroached upon in the national capital and have to be preserved. The observation by a bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Rekha Palli came during the hearing of a PIL seeking preservation of a ‘jauhad’ (water body) in the Badarpur area of south Delhi.
The court said that a water body has to be “preserved, maintained and utilised as a water body”.
It said that pictures filed along with the plea, showed “squatters”, besides deplorable condition and a large body of stagnant water.
The bench noted that the Delhi government and the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) “have completely abdicated their responsibility” with regard to the land in question and the water body.
“The Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi squarely absolves itself of any responsibility by stating that the land has been transferred to the DDA.
“The DDA submits that this land is not a water body and is a JJ cluster. This submission is made despite the revenue record clearly reflecting that the land in question is a ‘jauhad’,” the court said in its recent order.
It also said, “There can be no manner of doubt that a water body has to be preserved, maintained and utilised as a water body and nothing at all. No encroachment thereon can be permitted.”
The bench directed the DDA to place an affidavit indicating the water body’s extent, contours and the steps the authority proposes to take for restoring it.
The court said that if the squatters have to be relocated from the area, it would be done after an interaction with the Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB).
“Needless to say this matter brooks no delay and has to be implemented on a war footing especially, keeping the advent of the monsoon in mind,” it said while directing the DDA to file its affidavit before the next date of hearing on August two.