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SC slams Centre, says can’t regularise illegal construction

IANS | New Delhi |

The Supreme Court on Tuesday came down heavily on the Central government for extending protection to unauthorised constructions, saying it cannot regularise something which is illegal.

A bench of Justice Madan B. Lokur and Justice Deepak Gupta asked the Central government about its plan for unauthorised construction for commercial activities, while observing that those who have committed illegalities cannot be protected just because they have invested money.

“You (the government) cannot regularise something which is totally not in accordance with law. You can regularise those which are in accordance with law,” it said after the government said it has been planning to regularise the unauthorised colonies.

It also said the government was legalising the illegalities perpetuated so far by protecting illegal construction and slammed it for protecting the traders holding the 186 lakh people of Delhi to ransom by their agitation against the sealing drive.

“Illegalities have been perpetuated and are now being legalised… this is destruction.

“These people (traders) are saying that we have done something illegal, but please protect us. Dharnas by the traders are admission of their guilt. Innocent people do not go on dharnas… What can be more arbitrary than this.”

“You (Centre) have to realise that people of Delhi are important, whether you are the Delhi Development Authority, the government, the municipal corporation or any other agency,” the court said.

The court also asked the government about its plan regarding rampant encroachment in the city and in the unauthorised colonies. There were no green areas, sewage, drainage facilities, parking and the innocent citizens were suffering due to all this, it said.

“There will be eight to 10 lakh traders in Delhi and to protect them you are holding 186 lakh people to ransom. It cannot be done.

“At Ghazipur and Bhalswa, you have garbage pile up of 60 metres. You have water shortage, huge traffic problem, pollution. Pavements are encroached upon, roads have become parking space… That’s the hard reality,” said the court.

Stressing that the government has not done anything for the past 10 years to deal with the situation, the court asked it to send a tough message.

“The culture and heritage will go. Nothing will be left for the future if this is not done,” the court said.

During the hearing, Additional Solicitor General A.N.S. Nadkrani, appearing for the Central government, said that as per 2012 figure, there were around 895 unauthorised colonies having built up area of more than 50 per cent.

The bench was hearing pleas relating to the validity of Delhi Laws (Special Provisions) Act, 2006 and subsequent legislations, which protect unauthorised construction from being sealed in Delhi.

In December last year, while expressing concern over rampant illegal construction in Delhi, the court said that the authorities do not appear to have carried out their statutory duties in preventing illegal construction and ordered restoration of its 2006 monitoring committee to identify and seal such offending structures.