Millennium Post

Don't make sealing a political issue: SC to Centre, Delhi govt

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Centre, Delhi government and other authorities concerned not to make unauthorised construction and sealing of illegal structures in the national Capital "political" issues.
A bench comprising Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta said this after Additional Solicitor General ANS Nadkarni, appearing for the Centre, informed the court that they had held meetings with all the agencies concerned and they had proposed to constitute a special task force for monitoring all the issues arising out of unauthorised constructions.
"There are a few points and you please take these into account. This is not a political issue," the bench said.
The apex court also asked the authorities to look into the aspects of fire safety, especially in schools, and the massive depletion of groundwater while proceeding in the matter.
The bench also made it clear to the authorities that the health of the citizens of Delhi was much more important than profit and they would have to deal with the issue in a holistic manner.
The bench has now posted the matter for further hearing on April 18.
The apex court had, on April 4, lashed out at the Centre, Delhi government and civic agencies for their failure to stop unauthorised constructions in the Capital, saying that 'lungs' of the citizens, especially children, were "damaged" due to the inaction of the authorities.
The top court was critical of the continuous inaction by the authorities and said that the people of Delhi were suffering from problems such as pollution, parking and lack of green areas due to the issues arising out of unauthorised constructions.
Earlier, the bench had said that businesses being run by the rich would not be spared and asked the Centre not to treat Delhi residents like "cattle" by depriving them of basic amenities as every person has the right to live with dignity.
While admitting that Delhi faces a severe crisis due to illegal and unauthorised constructions, Nadkarni, however, had said the Centre could not be blamed for it entirely and that the Delhi government, Delehi Development Authority and municipal bodies are equally responsible for the prevailing situation.
The top court is hearing arguments on the validity of the Delhi Laws (Special Provisions) Act, 2006 and subsequent legislation 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 Committee, comprising K J Rao, former advisor to the Election Commissioner, Bhure Lal, chairman of Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority, and Major General (Retd) Som Jhingan, was set up on March 24, 2006.With agency inputs
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