Collusion of police and municipal officials behind unauthorised constructions in Delhi: SC

The apex court said it would constitute a judicial committee of two retired judges to deal with the decisions of the monitoring committee, formed to check illegal constructions

Representative
Representative
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PTI

Not a single brick can be laid without collusion of the local police and the municipal authorities, the Supreme Court said on Wednesday while voicing concern over unauthorised constructions in the national capital.

The top court said there should be judicial scrutiny of these matters and said it would constitute a judicial committee of two retired judges to deal with the decisions of the monitoring committee, formed to check illegal constructions.

"Unauthorised constructions go in a collaborative exercise between the authorities and infringer, escalating the cost for the person who has made it. Rampant construction is going on and no brick can be laid without local police authorities and the municipal authorities colluding. Try to lay a brick and they will come to your place. Whoever is in charge of that area, they have introduced a system of change. Every few months they change depending on the lucrative posting," a bench of Justices S K Kaul and MM Sundresh orally observed.

It said when an officer changes, no one accepts the responsibility and they will say it happened during the previous officer's tenure. And this internal arrangement works quite fine.

"There must be some method to deal with it. Is there some suggestion to deal with it? In fact, we have become a trial court in this process. I am not saying that this court should wash our hands of the matter. There should be judicial scrutiny of these matters who can assist us," the bench said.

The apex court said that endeavours to regulate illegal constructions by sending it to the tribunal or the Delhi High Court did not produce the desired result and thus the matter remained in the lap of this court.

"What troubles us is that we are required to go into the decisions of the monitoring committees, whether administrative committee or appointed by this court which are akin to administrative committees. Analysing facts of each case...this is not the task of the Supreme Court, more so when the number of applications has become so large that it is difficult to find time to deal with each of these applications," the bench said.

The apex court said that it may constitute a committee of two retired judges with adequate power to deal with the decisions of the monitoring committee, which should be able to take care of cases where the judicial committee directs de-sealing.

"We would like to empower the judicial committee with the necessary powers to analyse all aspects of the matter. The committee would look into what was the nature of allotment, whether there is the change in policy, what is permissible according to norms, what is the nature of violations and passing necessary directions," it said.

The top court also rapped the municipal corporation over encroachments and said shopkeepers have occupied the pavements while people are forced to walk on the road.

"You are not doing your job, that is why this scenario is there. Are you not empowered to take action under the law?" the bench said.

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