SC Partially Lifts Stay Order; Amendments To Delhi Master Plan 2021 To Be Closely Monitored
Not long back, the Supreme Court (SC) had stayed amendments to the Delhi Master Plan 2021 wherein the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) had proposed many variations. This included bringing a uniform floor area ratio (FAR) for shop-cum-residential plots and complexes on par with residential plots. Two months on, the SC has partly reconsidered its stay order of March 6.
However, it is not without guidelines either. The SC has ruled that there should be a window period of 15 days during which public responses towards the amendments will be sought and discussed. Not just that, the amendments should be clear to all and it is imperative that the DDA must advertise the action plan through national dailies on three consecutive days.
The next hearing is posted for May 17 and Attorney General (AG) KK Venugopal who represents the DDA has apprised the SC that strict action would be meted out to public servants if they neglect work and if there are unauthorised constructions within their jurisdiction.
The AG also said that a mobile application and an interactive website would be launched by the Special Task Force (STF) that would oversee law enforcement and the public would be able to register their grievances through the system. The mobile app may take 15 days to become operational.
Run-up to SC’s stay-order
Early this year, the civic bodies of national capital Delhi expedited a sealing drive and shut operations in over 450 shops. This took place after a monitoring committee appointed by the Supreme Court (SC) found these commercial centres to have violated clauses related to usage of space and other offences such as non-payment of conversion charges, encroachments and unauthorised construction. Shops across posh markets, including Vasant Kunj, Defence Colony and Meher Chand Market area had been sealed for violating these norms.
After much discussion, the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) had approved the amendments in the Delhi Master Plan 2021 and the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) had welcomed the approval, terming it as a positive step. However, the entire case took a twist as the SC pulled up DDA for not filing an affidavit analysing the environmental impacts and safety issues of the proposed changes. SC said, "this dadagiri has to stop...you can't tell Supreme Court that you will do what you want to do." The bench comprised of Justices Madan Lokur and Deepak Gupta.
The Centre decided to step in and recommend amendments to the Delhi Master Plan 2021 taking into consideration the location of pubs, clubs and restaurants that would be henceforth shifted out of residential areas said Union Urban Development Minister Hardeep Singh Puri.
The Centre had also maintained that besides uniform Floor Area Ratio (FAR), water- and sewage-related infrastructural services should be developed. Puri also said that "outdoor unit of air-conditioning shall in no case extrude from the plot line/or to be placed on the rooftop. Exhaust duct shall not open directly towards the public lane or face the other residential plot. Restaurants, clubs, pubs shall not be allowed in the residential premises as part of mixed use.”
The many meetings
The DDA, in a meeting with Delhi’s Lt Governor Anil Baijal on February 2, agreed for a uniform floor area ratio (FAR) in shop-cum-residential plots, complexes operating in commercial streets, residential areas, commercial and local shopping centres. This was one of the demands of traders across Delhi who had been affected in the ongoing sealing drive. The FAR earlier for 100 sqmt was variable, ranging from 180 to 225. Later, it was proposed to be uniform 350 for 100 sqmt.
Additionally, taking into consideration the urgency of such situations, the number of days for which the notification has to be put in public domain was reduced from 45 days to three days.
However, according to the DDA, provisions for parking would be the same and it shall be crucial for an approval or revision by local bodies in the case of local shopping centres or LSCs. Also, the penalty for violating terms and conditions for mixed-use properties is down from 10 times to two times.
The DDA also proposed norms for redevelopment of godowns clusters existing in "non-conforming areas, to be inserted as new paragraph 6.4 in Chapter 6 - Wholesale Trade as a modification to the Master Plan 2021.
While these conditions had been approved by the DDA, a public notification regarding the same had to be issued asking for suggestions from Delhiites. As many as 741 objections/suggestions were received and approximately 210 representatives also made oral submissions before the Board of Enquiry and Hearing back then.
With inputs from Housing News