Even though Parliament has extended protection to unauthorised colonies of Delhi by amending the National Capital of Delhi (special provision) Act, the South municipal corporation on Wednesday told the High Court that “illegal” properties will not be allowed to be sold or rented.
The counsel for South corporation told the High Court that the properties that had already been booked as “unauthorised” before the Act was passed, will be held in status quo. “Even though no sealing or demolition can be done, if we have booked the property, lists are sent to the sub-registrar in the Revenue department to make sure that the properties are blocked from sale,” advocate Ajay Arora said.
The submission was made after the court of Justice Badar Durrez Ahmed and Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva asked the South corporation and the Delhi government whether there were any rules or guidelines to ensure that unauthorised buildings are not sold off to “unsuspecting” buyers.
The replies were sought after a PIL was filed by NGO Removal of Corruption and Welfare Society to protect the “public at large” from being “deceived into buying unauthorised development”. During the brief hearing, counsel for the NGO Ambareesh Singh Bhadauria said that there should be “preventive action” by the government to protect the public from buying or renting “illegal” premises.
Citing the example of the Coca Cola building in Mumbai, the PIL alleges that buyers are usually unaware of the legal status of the properties and may be put under the impression that the property is “authorised”. “By the time the buyer realises that the property is an unauthorised development and that the developer has cheated and defrauded, it is too late,” the plea states.
Arora said under the present rules, any unauthorised construction is “booked” and the information is sent to the sub-registrar in the Delhi government’s Revenue department, so that the sale or rent deeds of the property cannot be registered.
The High Court asked the government and the South corporation to give a status report on the number of properties that have been booked and the details of the guidelines to prohibit the “transfer of properties that are unauthorisedly constructed or booked”.