“Our Lungs Are Damaged. Now Children’s Lungs Will Be Damaged”, SC Slams Centre, Civic Agencies Again Over Unauthorised Constructions
- “See...people of Delhi are suffering. You say let them suffer. That is your attitude. Children are suffering. Our lungs are already damaged. It is gone. Lungs of our children will also be damaged. Why? Because Union of India, Delhi government, DDA, MCDs say you can do whatever you want but we will not do anything”
- “Till the day authorities would realise that the people of Delhi were important, nothing would change. People of Delhi are not cattles ...Everybody has some respect in the society”
--- a bench of justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta said.
The Centre, Delhi government and capital’s civic agencies once again came under fire from the Supreme Court in the sealing case today for their failure to prevent unauthorized constructions.
“See...people of Delhi are suffering. You say let them suffer. That is your attitude. Children are suffering. Our lungs are already damaged. It is gone. Lungs of our children will also be damaged. Why? Because Union of India, Delhi government, DDA, MCDs say you can do whatever you want but we will not do anything”, bench of justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta told lawyers representing the Centre and civic agencies.
The bench came down heavily on the Centre saying it was changing the Master Plan of Delhi-2021 at the drop of a hat to protect those who have committed illegalities by making unauthorised constructions.
SC made it clear that commercial establishments like restaurants and big showrooms cannot continue in residential areas in violation of the law as the authorities cannot put the lives of citizens of Delhi in danger
“Unauthorised constructions have a direct correlation with rising pollution. Delhiites suffer from problems such as pollution, parking and lack of green areas due to the issues arising out of unauthorised constructions”, the bench added.
“Till the day authorities would realise that the people of Delhi were important, nothing would change. People of Delhi are not cattle ...Everybody has some respect in the society, the bench told Additional Solicitor General (ASG) A N S Nadkarni who appeared for the Centre.
When Nadkarni suggested SC monitor the situation and the authorities should be asked to perform their duties in a time-bound manner, the bench retorted: “We are not policemen. Why should we do it?”
When Nadkarni replied that the SC has monitored several issues in the past, the bench shot back, You are doing nothing that is why we have to monitor several things.
On April 2 the bench had slammed the Centre and other authorities over their inability to stop encroachment in Delhi.
SC suggested the government to ensure that protest against sealing should stop. It further rapped the government by saying it is playing with the life of people in Delhi.
The court expressed anguish over the protest against the ongoing sealing drive in the national capital and said there is a “complete breakdown” of law and order in the city.
“You cannot go on destroying Delhi. There has to be some reason,” the bench told Nadkarni.
On March 6 Supreme Court had put on hold any further move by Delhi Development Authority to amend Delhi Master Plan 2021 aimed to give relief to commercial establishments from sealing.
The process has stayed as the bench was angry with the DDA as it had not filed an affidavit as per the court’s order on February 9.
DDA later filed an affidavit giving the point by point reply to nine questions put by the bench if various assessments like environmental impact, traffic, congestion and other safety aspects were made before going ahead with the amendment. The affidavit also said that since it filed the affidavit, the stay on amendments in MPD 2021 may kindly be lifted.
“It is most respectfully submitted that the proposed amendments in the MPD 2021 being statutory in nature and deserving to be carried out in accordance with the procedure/scheme of the DDA Act of 1957., have been formulated keeping in view the ground realities. It is most respectfully submitted that in compliance with the orders passed by the Supreme Court the final notification shall be made upon vacation of the order dated March 6 passed by the honorable court staying the further progress in amendment of the master plan. It is most humbly and respectfully prayed that this Honourable court may kindly be pleased to permit the completion of the further progress for the proposed amendment in the MPD-2021 as has been envisaged in the DD Act”, said the affidavit.
The non-filing of the affidavit was brought to the court’s attention by senior advocate Ranjit Kumar who is an amicus in the matter.
An angry justice Lokur had remarked: “why will they file ?They want people to die..see you are taking the supreme court of this country for a ride..the attitude is like we will do whatever we want you may say anything.this is nothing short of contempt, this dadagiri has to stop”
The order said: “Inspite of our order dated February 9 DDA, MCD and Delhi government have not filed an affidavit answering the nine questions raised by this court including environment impact assessment. This being the position further implementation of the amendment to the master plan is stayed”
The DDA has recently proposed bringing uniform floor area ratio (FAR) for shop-cum-residence plots and complexes at par with residential plots, a move that would give respite to traders facing the threat of sealing.