SC Questions: Why Advance Notice to Defaulters

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On October 11 Supreme Court ordered a monitoring committee when it came to its notice that there are around 5,000 illegal industrial units still operating from the residential areas in Delhi. The committee is to ensure that these units get shut down within 15 days.

The court described the concerns raised as ‘unfortunate’ and elaborated by saying that even after 14 years of setting a panel, there are illegal industrial units still operating in residential areas. The panel was constituted in 2004 and comprised of Delhi Police Commissioner, Commissioners of three civic bodies and Vice Chairman of Delhi Development Authority.

The apex court has criticized the Centre, Delhi Government and civic agencies for their lack of concern, efforts and efficiency. It strongly condemned them for being incapable to stop unauthorized construction in residential areas of Delhi. Supreme Court also said that the prior notice was the reason why no pre-natal sex determination diagnostic centers were caught as they would remove all the machines from the centers.

The committee formed has observed that the illegal units have been provided with alternative plots but no compliance has been sought by them. It assured the bench that these illegal constructions and buildings running in either residential or non-conforming areas will be shut within 15 days and their water and electricity supply would be disconnected. The bench has listed the matter for November 26.

The question of concern found in adhering to the law is that the units involved in illegal construction or encroachments were given a prior notice of 48 hours. As a result it served as a warning bell for them to cover up their violation of building by-laws. Additional Solicitor General ANS Nadkarni who appeared on behalf of the Centre in the matter said that as per relevant statue, 15-days notice has to be given to defaulters.

This matter that came to light not only hints towards violation of laws and guidelines laid down but also brings with it a concern regarding health issues in such areas. It had left the court to think about the issue related to the validity of Delhi Laws (Special Provisions) Act, 2006 and the subsequent legislations which protects unauthorized construction from being sealed. The quality of life and health of people is in jeopardy because of the illegal constructions in residential areas. The lungs of people are affected; especially children are left vulnerable due to inactivity of the authorities.

Bhanu Priya Bhati
Student Reporter -INBA

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