HC questions embargo on repair works in affluent unauthorised colonies like Sainik Farms
NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court Tuesday expressed displeasure over the Centre's decision not to allow any repair works at affluent unauthorised colonies like South Delhi's Sainik Farms and asked who will take the responsibility if some structures fall tomorrow and people die.
The court noted that some of the structures need urgent repairs and may collapse anytime and said there should be some mechanism that may determine if any property is so precariously placed that may fall.
"Even in respect of these colonies that you (Centre) term as 'affluent', you should take a decision, why should you leave it in limbo? You yourself call them affluent, so by all means do whatever is necessary for development, charge whatever needs to be. There are people who are facing the acute problem, there are seepage, and some structures are precarious. Who will be responsible if any structure falls tomorrow? Because you say they will not move a brick," a bench of Acting Chief Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Navin Chawla said.
The court was hearing a plea by Ramesh Dugar, convener of the area development committee at Sainik Farms, seeking regularisation of the colonies in the area.
The court asked the Centre as to who would take responsibility if a house in the area comes down crumbling since the residents cannot carry out any repair works, it being an unauthorised colony.
Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati, representing the Centre, said these constructions have been raised unauthorisedly.
To this, the bench said, "Will that be an answer if something happens tomorrow? You can't leave things in this state. Please take a decision. We are not saying what decision, that's entirely your call. If you say it is illegal, take your bulldozers and demolish everything, we will not say anything. Thousands of houses are constructed there. The pragmatic way is, just like you have regularised others, regularise them, charge whatever is required, we don't think anyone will have an issue with that."
"What if some structures fall tomorrow and people die? Who will take responsibility? There should be some mechanism that may determine if any property is so precariously placed that it may fall. You send your team, have it surveyed, but some repair work be allowed," it said while listing the matter for further hearing on July 6.
The court said the strict embargo on repair works in the existing structure is a catastrophe as some of the structures in affluent colonies like Sainik Farms are in need of urgent repair.
"God forbid any structure collapses due to lack of repair, the same would lead to loss of life. We have, therefore, put to the parties that the respondents should look into this aspect and continuation of status quo on necessary repairs may be putting the occupants and residents at risk of life and property," the court said.
It asked the Centre to explore the possibility of evolving a mechanism where there is credible vigilance in the matter of grant of permission to carry out repairs and even while the repairs are carried out in the existing structures, pending further decisions the government may take concerning the affluent colonies.
The Centre, in its affidavit, said that it has taken a conscious decision to not get into the regularisation of illegal colonies which are categorised as affluent colonies, and that the government is presently focusing on the re-development work of the 1797 unauthorised colonies which have been sub-divided into two classes.