The Centre’s submission that Master Plan of Delhi-2021 was the “solution” for the issues related to unauthorised constructions in the national capital today failed to impress the Supreme Court, which termed it as a ploy to legalise the illegal. A bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta wanted to know from the Centre if they had any plan to deal with the issue which has arisen in Delhi on which the traders were staging protest against the ongoing sealing drive.
“Do you have any plan or you just want these traders to hold the city on ransom. Do you have any plan,” the bench asked Additional Solicitor General (ASG) A N S Nadkarni, appearing for the Centre.
Responding to the query, Nadkarni said, “Government of India does not feel that way. We just want to have a solution for it”.
When the bench asked whether the government has thought of any solution, the ASG said, “the Master Plan of Delhi-2021 is a solution of all this”. The court then asked “what about unauthorised colonies? You have changed the master plan to legalise what is illegal.”
The ASG said the 2021 master plan has not yet been finalised and he could place a roadmap before the court about what the government proposes to do in the matter.
The Delhi Development Authority (DDA) had proposed amendments in the 2021 master plan, including bringing uniform floor area ratio (FAR) for shop-cum-residence plots and complexes at par with residential plots, a move that would come as a big relief to traders facing the threat of sealing.
FAR is the ratio of a building’s total floor area (gross floor area) to the size of the piece of land upon which it is built.
On March 6, the apex court had stayed any further progress by the authorities to amend the 2021 master plan.
During the hearing today, the apex court asked the ASG about the encroachments in Delhi and said that pavements and roads have been encroached upon due to which vehicles were parked on the roads. “What about past illegalities? You are saying that you will protect it (unauthorised constructions) till 2020,” the bench asked, adding, “will these illegalities continue till 2020?”.
During the hearing, senior advocate Ranjit Kumar, who is assisting the court as an amicus curiae in the matter,asked how could the Centre say that the unauthorised constructions would be protected. He said the government speaks about making Delhi a world-class city but he has not found anything about this in the affidavit filed by the Centre.
However, the ASG said he would come up with a roadmap on the issue and the court posted the matter for hearing tomorrow.
The top court is hearing arguments on the validity of the Delhi Laws (Special Provisions) Act, 2006 and subsequent legislations which protects unauthorised construction from being sealed.
The apex court had earlier ordered restoration of its 2006 monitoring committee to identify and seal such offending structures. The monitoring committee, comprising K J Rao, former advisor to the Election Commissioner, Bhure Lal, Chairman, EPCA and Major General (Retd) Som Jhingan, was set up in March 24, 2006, by the court.