Master plan can’t be amended without public suggestions: SC

Master plan can’t be amended without public suggestions: SC


DDA seeks to amend the Master Plan to increase the floor area ratio to provide relief to those facing sealing action.

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court refused to modify on Thursday its order directing Delhi Development Authority (DDA) to invite suggestions and objections to the proposed amendments in the Master Plan of Delhi 2021 (MPD), saying changes in the MPD cannot be brought about without a meaningful public participation.

A bench of justices MB Lokur and Navin Sinha also pulled up the government for seeking a modification of its May 15 order that allowed the government to go ahead with changes in MPD but only 15 days after inviting public objections and views on its proposal. DDA was also slammed for raising the “bogey” of “public order and law and order” problems to justify the three-day time period it had given earlier to raise objections to the amendments. SC had on March 6 stopped DDA from notifying the amended MPD that increases the floor area ratio with an intention to provide relief to commercial establishments from the anti-sealing drive.

SC, which revived sealing and demolition of unauthorized structures in the Capital, said Delhi is being ravaged by unauthorised encroachments and none of the civic authorities, including DDA sincerely carry out its statutory duties.

“It is painful to require the issuance of directions to statutory authorities to carry out their functions in accordance with the law enacted by Parliament. Unfortunately, the situation in Delhi warranted such a direction due to the apathy civic authorities,” the judges said in the judgement given in response to DDA’S plea to modify the May 15 order.

Attorney General KK Venugopal, representing DDA, had said there was no need for suggestions and objections because it had undertaken the exercise earlier in March. Before incorporating the changes in the MPD-2021 DDA had give three days to the public for the suggestions. But SC found it unreasonable on DDA’S part to reduce the

90-day period. “We are at a loss to understand the hyper-reaction and how changes in the Master Plan are sought without any meaningful public participation with perhaps an intent to satisfy lobbies and curtailing a period of 90 days to just three,” the judges said.

The court had enquired from DDA the reasons for reducing the statutory period. It was told that the rules allowed it on the ground to maintain public order. However, when the court asked for an instance, the DDA had failed to provide any except submitting orally that there were riots in Delhi. “We were also not told of any exigency that could affect the interest of the public which necessitated curtailing the period of 90 days,” court noted in its order.

Source: Hindustan Times
Dated: 25th May 2018

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