Authorities can’t keep residents of unauthorised colonies in limbo: HC

Authorities cannot keep people living in unauthorised colonies, which came up “right under your nose”, in “limbo” and should decide on their regularisation as huge money was spent on constructing them, the Delhi High Court said on Friday.

It was hearing pleas by some residents of Sainik Farms seeking permission for undertaking repairs.

The high court said be it affluent or non-affluent, unauthorised colonies are ultimately unauthorised, and it is for the government and not courts to decide whether to regularise them or not.

“You have to take a decision whether to regularise these unauthorised colonies or not. You are keeping enough number of house owners in limbo. You should take a decision. They spend huge amount of money in construction. These colonies did not come overnight. They came right under your nose,” a bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad said.

The court also made it clear to the residents that it will not give any permission for repairs in unauthorised colonies, saying “not even a brick more”.

Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati, representing the Centre, apprised the court about the meeting of a high-powered committee on Thursday where it was discussed that the status of affluent unauthorised colonies remains the same and there are no provisions in existing law/rules/regulation on the basis of which permissions can be granted for carrying out repairs.

Bhati submitted no special privilege to grant relaxation in existing rules/regulations has been given to affluent unauthorised colonies under the National Capital Territory of Delhi (Special Provisions) Act.

The minutes of the committee’s meeting stated buildings have been constructed in affluent unauthorised colonies that are in clear violation of land use and layout plans, and the existing buildings in those colonies are protected against any punitive action till December 31, 2023 under the Act.

Bhati submitted the Centre shall be expediting a policy decision in respect of these colonies.

The bench told the ASG to resolve the issue at the earliest and asked the Centre to file a status report while listing the matter for August 25.

The committee felt if permission is granted for repairs, it was likely to be misused and fresh unauthorised constructions could come up. Moreover, similar demands may be raised by the residents of other unauthorised colonies, the panel said.

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Opposing the pleas that claimed houses at Sainik Farm require repair and some kind of regular maintenance, the Centre had earlier told the court as the colony was “purely unauthorised” and any interim relief will facilitate further unauthorised construction.

Earlier, while hearing a plea by Ramesh Dugar, convenor of the area development committee at Sainik Farms, for regularisation of the colonies in the area, a bench headed by then Acting Chief Justice Vipin Sanghi had asked the Centre as to who would take responsibility if a house in the area crumbles for want of repair.

It had 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.

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