Apex court threatens to junk Delhi Master Plan


New Delhi : Irked by the failure of civic bodies in giving their assessment on the feasibility of the Delhi Master Plan 2021 to tackle the city's infrastructure problems, the Supreme Court Monday threatened to junk the plan altogether.

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The stern warning came from a special three-member bench, comprising Justice Arijit Pasayat, Justice C.K. Thakker and Justice L.S. Penta.

"No government agency has filed any affidavit. If this is the way things are going, we will stay the Master Plan. Unless we are satisfied with the feasibility of the effective implementation of the Master Plan, how do we know if it's workable," snapped Justice Pasayat as Solicitor General G.E. Vahanvati sought to tell the court that there might have been some misunderstanding.

"There is no misunderstanding. It's a total and deliberate attempt on the part of these agencies. After all, how do we test if it's workable," the bench asked.

The judges warned the government after amicus curiae Ranjit Kumar complained that barring two government agencies, none of the others had filed their replies on how they planned to provide and develop the infrastructure facilities like providing water, power and tackling traffic to meet the situation arising out of vertical growth of the city, envisaged in the new master plan.

Kumar told the court that only Delhi Rail Metro Corporation and Multi Rapid Transport System had filed their responses to the May 7 court order.

The bench gave the civic agencies two more weeks to file their responses.

An angry bench also sought an explanation from the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) within 24 hours on allegations by a court-appointed monitoring committee that the civic body had slowed down the drive to shut businesses operating illegally out of residential premises.

Kumar told the court that the MCD was resorting to selective closure of residential premises being misused for commercial operations.

The court also extended the MCD's June 30 deadline by a month for collection of conversion charges from individuals carrying out commercial activities in a select category of residential premises under the new master plan.

The bench extended an interim immunity from sealing granted to professionals such as doctors, lawyers and journalists, operating from residential premises.

The court also clarified that its earlier order restraining the construction of a third floor would apply only to those structures which would fall under the 2021 plan.

According to the apex court such restrictions would not apply to constructions approved under the earlier 1990 Master Plan and its amended version of 1998, and which had been approved before May 7, 2007.