If Delhi Has To Collapse, Let It: Top Court Hits Out At Centre On Sealing

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The issue cropped up when the Supreme Court was hearing the matter related to sealing in Delhi (File)

New Delhi:

"If Delhi has to collapse, let it collapse," an angry bench of the Supreme Court Thursday said while questioning the efficiency of officers who are supposed to look after issues related to unauthorised constructions in the national capital.

The bench of justices Madan B Lokur, MM Shantanagoudar and S Adbul Nazeer came down heavily on the centre for not giving details of the survey of houses conducted in south Delhi's Amar Colony area.

"You have to admit this fact, which you are not, that your people (officials) are not doing the work either as per the law or as per orders of the Supreme Court," the bench told Additional Solicitor General (ASG) ANS Nadkarni, representing the centre.

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The issue cropped up when the court was hearing the matter related to sealing of unauthorised constructions in Delhi.

The ASG told the court that a joint survey was conducted in the south Delhi area by South Delhi Municipal Corporation and Land and Development Office (L&DO) in August and the report was under finalisation.

"How many houses or premises were surveyed," the bench asked.

When the ASG said he would have to find it out, the bench said, "What is this? Are we supposed to wait for this?"

The ASG then told an officer, who was present in the court, to go outside and get the details on phone from the officer concerned.

"This is the efficiency of your officers. You are seeing this and this is why Delhi is in disarray," the bench told the ASG.

To this, Mr Nadkarni said, "If they (officers) have done their jobs on time, this would not have happened."

The bench, which had to wait for around 10 minutes during the hearing due to this, asked the ASG, "Tell us what would have happened if the last 10 minutes (of proceedings) were telecast live on TV? They would have been exposed."

Mr Nadkarni said people do not need live telecast because they were aware of it.

Later, the ASG, after being informed by the officer, told the court that all 800 houses in Amar Colony were surveyed and it was done in the month of August.

"For two months, your report is under finalisation. What kind of report is being finalised? What do you mean by finalisation? Why some officer who is not aware of the facts have been sent to the court," the bench asked.

Mr Nadkarni said that he would get all the information by Friday.

"If Delhi has to collapse, let it collapse. If people who are supposed to look after Delhi are not bothered, why should we bother then," Justice Lokur observed, adding, "Should we close all these proceedings."

"You will take months and by that time, Delhi will collapse and then you will say now the petition has become infructuous," the bench observed.

It later posted the matter for hearing Friday and made it clear that only those officers, who are aware about all the facts related to the matter, should come to the court.

The top court is seized of the issue of validity of Delhi Laws (Special Provisions) Act, 2006 and subsequent legislations which protect unauthorised constructions from being sealed.

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