South Delhi Municipal Corporation
NEW DELHI: Illegal constructions in the city can't be stopped by "inspector raj" even if the court provided 500 policemen to the corporations, South Delhi Municipal Corporation told the Delhi high court on Wednesday.
Appearing in response to summons, South Corporation commissioner Manish Gupta submitted before a bench of Justices B D Ahmed and Siddharth Mridul that the "economics" of removing unauthorized construction has to change, adding the fine and penalty system is highly skewed in favour of the offender.
Admitting that 1.5-2 lakh illegal constructions dot the city, the commissioner highlighted that the current government policy is to nip illegality in the bud but doesn't succeed because the moment officials seal or demolish a place and leave, owners restart the process.
"Inspector raj system doesn't work because the owner doesn't feel the economic pinch. Policy of pardoning, a penalty system dating back to 1957 places little economic burden on the offender," Gupta claimed while assuring HC on behalf of the other two corporation commissioners that they are serious about "removing the menace of unauthorized constructions".
The bench advised him "not to pass the buck" and said it expected immediate action against unauthorized properties. It directed the commissioners to convene a meeting with Delhi Police commissioner, government officials, DJB and DERC chairman to explore ways in which illegal constructions can be checked. "In all these matters, authorities concerned shall file status report," the bench said.
The court wants to explore if power discoms can be roped in to restrict power supply to those properties booked for illegal constructions.
The commissioners also complained that despite writing to the discoms and DJB to cut the power and water supply to unauthorized constructions, these authorities did not take any action. Moreover, they blamed the Delhi government for lack of support in the form of police.
The high court is hearing a batch of petitions relating to unauthorized construction in various parts of the capital. Earlier, the court had on several occasions pulled up the corporations for lack of action against those indulging in unauthorized construction and sought the presence of the commissioners to explain "what is happening" as more and more such cases were being filed.