The Delhi Development Authority (DDA) today proposed to fix responsibility on officials in cases of illegal construction activities in the national capital and violation of the master plan and building bye-laws.
The DDA placed an action plan before the Supreme Court, listing out steps including launching of an interactive website and a smart phone application to enable the public register their grievances regarding illegal constructions and upload photos.
A bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and Navin Sinha asked Attorney General K K Venugopal, who appeared for the DDA, to make the smart phone application operational within 15 days.
During the hearing, Venugopal told the bench that it is considered that the police is supposed to be the "most corrupt", however there is rampant corruption in the DDA too and stringent measures are required to curb it.
In a five-page action plan, the DDA has said that it intends to check all ongoing and future unauthorised constructions in the city under the supervision of a special task force (STF) which was constituted on April 25 following an apex court order.
The STF has been set up to oversee the enforcement of laws on unauthorised constructions in Delhi.
The DDA has also told the court that a "grid" of officers has been prepared who shall be held accountable for all future illegal constructions. "It shall be the responsibility of the officers in the grid to check in their areas of jurisdiction, all construction activities to determine the nature whether the same are illegal or unauthorised," the action plan said.
It also fixes the responsibility on the concerned officers in the grid, consisting of 31 officers from different civic agencies and DDA, in case no timely remedial action is taken on the complaints regarding illegal constructions.
If timely action is not taken, it would be presumed that such activity has been undertaken in connivance with the officer responsible for the respective area, it said.
It also said the STF could also direct the concerned authority to initiate disciplinary action against the official and remove such illegal or unauthorised constructions.
"In case any illegal/unauthorised construction activity is detected by the STF during consideration of these reports and where no or inadequate corrective or remedial action has been timely initiated by the officer responsible, it will be presumed that such activity has been or was undertaken in connivance with the officer responsible for the concerned area as mentioned in the grid," it said.
It said the STF shall direct the concerned authority to initiate disciplinary proceedings under relevant provisions of service rules and STF.
"In case the reply is not satisfactory, an FIR will be lodged against him/her under section 13 (1)(D) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 and relevant provisions of the Indian Penal Code for allowing illegal/unauthorised constructions to take place in the grid for which he/she has been made incharge," the action plan said.
Besides taking punitive action against the officials, the STF would also direct the concerned authority to take action against builder, contractor as well as architect, whosoever was responsible for illegal construction.
Regarding past instances of illegal constructions, the action plan said that STF would take congnisance on written complaints and appoint a three-member panel which would submit the report to the task force within a month.
It also referred to the 2016 unified building bye-laws for Delhi and said it intended to make the process of approval of building plans "hassle free" and stipulates time frame for it, including reduction of maximum limit for granting building permit to 30 days. It said that fees and charges would be deposited online.
Venugopal, while referring to the action plan, said these steps would ensure that a "tight system" was put in place.
The bench has fixed the matter for further hearing on May 17.
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