The Delhi High Court on Wednesday asked the Urban Development Ministry and the state government to finalise the policy on unauthorised colonies in the capital “one way or another” by January-end.
“There are only two options — either you regularise them and charge a lot of money or you demolish them,” the court of Justice Badar Durrez Ahmed and Justice Siddharth Mridul said.
The remarks were made during a hearing on a PIL on unauthorised construction at Sainik Farms area in South Delhi. The court expressed its dissatisfaction at the delay by the government in taking a decision.
Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain and central government standing counsel Anurag Ahluwalia also told the court that the UD Ministry was in consultation with the government, Delhi Development Authority and the three municipal corporations to “resolve the complexities involved in the regularisation of all unauthorised colonies, including Sainik Farms, so as to frame a coherent policy”. It was looking at penalties, regularisation charges etc., to be recovered from unauthorised colonies, they said.
The court has now suggested that “heavy penalties and charges” be imposed on colonies such as Sainik Farms which were created by “rich people”. “Penalty and regularisation fee should be on a graded basis. Segregate colonies with respect to land value,” the court said.
The court also observed that a bench of the High Court had banned any further construction at Sainik Farms in 2001, and directed the government to take steps to demolish the illegal properties.
“It is truly amazing that they have continued to construct despite court orders,” it said, noting that over 150 new properties seemed to have come up in the area in the past few months.
Meanwhile, the court also took note of a plea filed by the “original” allottees of the Defence Officers Enclave who were given land for a colony after the 1965 War.
Defence veterans had approached the court alleging that the government was not supplying water or basic services to the enclave, and that their problems were getting buried under the issue of unauthorised colonies springing up around the colony.
The court pulled up the Centre and the state government for “passing the parcel” and “troubling the ex-army officers,” after they denied having authority to pass orders about the colony. It also directed the Delhi Jal Board to supply water to the enclave.