Millennium Post

Illegal construction thrives with official support: High Court

NEW DELHI: Pointing at the nexus of law enforcers and builders, the Delhi High Court on Friday observed that illegal constructions in Delhi take place with the support of the officials.
A three-member experts panel, set up by the high court to inspect alleged illegal constructions across the city, has said in its report that "30 per cent of the population of Delhi is living in sub-human condition and 10 per cent completely in inhuman conditions" due to such construction.
Holding that "builder, architect and the owner have a vested interest", it told a bench headed by Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal that the sub-human conditions in which the people lived were a result of the "greed of property owners and callousness of the MCD's law enforcers".
The committee members, former CBI director D R Karthikeyan, ex-India Habitat Centre Director R M S Liberhan and retired district judge Ravinder Kaur, also said that without enforcing any criminal liability on the builder- architect-owner-official nexus, "no lasting remedy will work. Illegal constructions cannot happen without connivance."
Builder-official nexus thrives in our cities by buying protection and insurance from the law enforcers.
The builder, architect and the owner have a vested interest. Often, the purchaser is the most vulnerable.
"Hence, criminal and civil liability of the builder, architect, the owner and the concerned executive engineer must survive for ten years from the date of the sanctioned plan and, in the case of non-sanctioned ones, from the date of the acquisition of the title to the illegal premises," the committee said in an over 200 page report.
The panel, which was tasked with giving the recommendation to overcome any unauthorised construction existing in the city, said all layout plans approved by the MCD should be displayed in the concerned colonies and "cast in stone".
Giving a slew of suggestions, it said that a copy of the layout plan for any colony or construction should be made available in the office of the Resident Welfare Associations well as on the website of the MCD.
"These should not be photocopies of the existing plans but should be graphically digitised. It will take time, but it has to be done," the report said, adding that the city needs "micromanaging" as it is necessary that every inch of public space is mapped and regulated.
"The business of free parking on municipal land in colonies must be stopped and parking space must be sold to the residents unless a centralised mechanism is not in place," it said.
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