Common Cause and Lokniti Programme of the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), launched India’s first Status of Policing in India Report (SPIR 2018) at the India Habitat Centre on May 9.Read More+
In the last few weeks the higher courts of Delhi, the Delhi High Court and the Supreme Court, have actively supported the cleaning up of Delhi by the removal of encroachments on public land, demolition of illegal structures and unlawful commercialisation of residential areas. The judiciary has compelled the local authorities-DDA, MCD and NDMC-to enforce the building bylaws and to remove all encroachments on public land. Strangely, the activism of the courts has roused the ire not only of the lawbreakers but also of the lawmakers-the Corporators, the MLAs and MPs of Delhi. No one is denying the fact that the public spaces and open areas in Delhi have been widely encroached upon, buildings constructed without sanction or in violation of the bylaws and widespread commercial use made of residential areas. And yet on the specious grounds that all this lawlessness has occurred in the full view of the Government and its agencies and that large-scale demolition will not only cause great economic loss to the lawbreakers but also create large scale unemployment for persons engaged in the various businesses, the action ordered by the High Court and the Apex Court is being strongly criticized. The so-called people's representatives have been demanding the reversal of the Courts' orders, stoppage of demolitions except for ongoing illegal constructions on public land, and the declaration of a large number of roads for "mixed use", in other words, for commercial activity. Put plainly, the demand is to allow the chaotic state in Delhi, the congestion, insanitary conditions and traffic problems and great inconvenience to the common man notwithstanding.
The law abiding citizens, including the Residents' Welfare Associations, the architects and town-planners have strongly opposed the demands. Strangely, the Government of Delhi, the Corporators and the MPs have come out virtually 100% of them, to allow the status quo to continue, regularise the
In the course of the last few months, we have seen how even the peremptory orders of the High Court and Apex Court have not been faithfully complied with by the MCD, DDA and NDMC and how the influential and prosperous lawbreakers, some of them elected representatives of the people, have been left out of the punitive action ordered by the courts. The law-abiding public and the media believe that the administration and management of land in Delhi is highly corrupt at all levels and that this corruption extends also to the so-called elected representatives nursing vote-banks and lining their pockets.
Finally, considering the patent unwillingness of the field staff of all the agencies, it could be said with a high degree of confidence that the tasks proposed to be completed within one year and a special legislation enacted, are outside the competence of the DDA, MCD, NDMC and the Central Government. The result is likely to be the indefinite prolongation of the amnesty being demanded by the irresponsible politicians.