Countering the claims of the apex court-mandated monitoring committee on sealing of unauthorised structures in Delhi, Land and Development Office told the Supreme Court Monday that it was not obstructing the sealing drive here. The committee recently filed a report in the top court claiming that L&DO had stalled the sealing drive in Amar Colony area "at the last moment to appease the political leaders".
Additional Solicitor General A N S Nadkarni, appearing for L&DO, told a bench of Justices Arun Mishra and Deepak Gupta that they would file a reply to the committee's report. "They (monitoring committee) are saying that L&DO is obstructing the sealing drive. It is not the case. We will file a reply," Nadkarni told the bench.
The bench directed the L&DO to file its response to the committee's report within seven days and posted the matter for further hearing thereafter. The committee, in its report regarding non-cooperation of L&DO in carrying out sealing operations in Amar Colony area scheduled from June 25, has claimed that earlier the L&DO had filed an affidavit in the apex court stating that a complete survey of properties in the area was conducted with the assistance of concerned officers of municipal corporation.
It said that as per L&DO's affidavit, the areas surveyed are -- Andha Mugla, Motia Khan, Sarai Rohilla and Amar Colony -- and total number of properties/ tenements in these four areas comes to 2,354. "In the process of survey, violations in the nature of encroachments, misuse and unauthorised constructions were noticed and compiled," the committee said in its report.
It said that as per the apex court's direction, meetings were convened by the monitoring committee with the officials of L&DO, Deputy Commissioner Central Zone (South Delhi Municipal Corporation) and Deputy Commissioner of Police to chalk out the sealing operations in the area. It said that sealing drive in the area was scheduled to commence from June 25 but on the same day, they received communications from L&DO and Deputy Commissioner Central Zone stating that sealing operation is being deferred keeping in view the protection under the National Capital of Delhi Laws (Special Provisions) Act 2011.
"From the sequence of the events as mentioned above, the act and conduct of the officials was to stall the sealing process at the last moment to appease the political leaders. The officials know that the protection as alleged is not available to the impugned properties under Delhi Law (Special Provisions) Act, 2011," the committee has said in its report. "The monitoring committee is very keen on completing the sealing operation in Amar Colony, Lajpat Nagar-IV as directed by this court, as time and again the aggrieved persons whose premises are lying sealed since March 8, 2018 have been blaming the local bodies for 'pick and choose' policy for sealing," the report said.
The top court is seized of the issues regarding validity of Delhi Laws (Special Provisions) Act, 2006 and subsequent legislations which protect unauthorised constructions from being sealed.
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