Why Don't You Notice Illegal Construction Before PILs Are Filed: HC Asks Delhi Civic Bodies
With public interest litigations (PILs) being moved before it against unauthorised constructions on a daily basis, a miffed Delhi High Court on December 21 asked the municipal corporations of the city why they took action only after a matter came under the court scanner.
Noting that the civic bodies were breaking the law with "impunity", a Bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar said that they "cannot see" the unauthorised construction when it started, and not even after several floors were built up, as if "invisible building materials are used".
However, after a PIL was filed, the corporations rushed to take action which often resulted in innocent buyers of such illegal buildings being put out of their houses, it said, terming it a "painful" state of affairs.
The court said it was mulling passing orders that the corporation officials be made to reimburse from their salary the money paid by innocent buyers for such buildings, against which the MCDs take action after a PIL was filed.
"Why don't you start taking working without PILs being filed? What is painful is that you permit unauthorised construction and encroachments to happen and then (after a petition is filed) you put innocent buyers out of their houses.
"They (corporations) cannot see when the ground is dug up and three to four floors come up as if these are built by invisible materials. We will now pass orders that salaries of your officers be deducted for the money paid by innocent buyers of these buildings," the court said.
It noted that PILs against illegal constructions were being filed "every day".
The court asked the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) why it was providing water connections to such unauthorised constructions, saying this would result in the honest citizens being deprived of the basic amenities for which they are paying.
The Bench sought status reports from the south Delhi municipal corporation, the DJB and the power distribution company BSES Rajdhani on the action taken by them against unauthorised constructions in their area.
The direction came on a PIL, alleging unauthorised construction in various parts of south Delhi.
With inputs from Housing News