Delhi sealing: SC asks Centre, state government not to make it a ‘political issue’
The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Centre, Delhi government and other authorities concerned not to make unauthorised construction and sealing of illegal structures in the national capital “political” issues. A bench comprising Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta said this after Additional Solicitor General A N S Nadkarni, appearing for the Centre, informed the court that they had held meetings with all the agencies concerned and they had proposed to constitute a special task force for monitoring all the issues arising out of unauthorised constructions. “There are a few points and you please take these into account. This is not a political issue,” the bench said.
The apex court also asked the authorities to look into the aspects of fire safety, especially in schools, and the massive depletion of groundwater while proceeding in the matter. The bench also made it clear to the authorities that the health of the citizens of Delhi was much more important than profit and they would have to deal with the issue in a holistic manner. The bench has now posted the matter for further hearing on April 18.
The apex court had on April 4 lashed out at the Centre, Delhi government and civic agencies for their failure to stop unauthorised constructions in the national capital, saying that “lungs” of the citizens, especially children, were “damaged” due to inaction of the authorities.
The top court was critical of the continuous inaction by the authorities and said that the people of Delhi were suffering with problems such as pollution, parking and lack of green areas due to the issues arising out of unauthorised constructions. The top court is hearing arguments on the validity of the Delhi Laws (Special Provisions) Act, 2006 and subsequent legislations which protect unauthorised construction from being sealed.
The apex court had earlier ordered restoration of its 2006 monitoring committee to identify and seal such offending structures. The monitoring committee, comprising K J Rao, former advisor to the Election Commissioner, Bhure Lal, chairman of Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority, and Major General (Retd) Som Jhingan, was set up on March 24, 2006, by the court.