High Court asks MCD to give building plans to fire dept for fire audit in Karol bagh

Taking note of fire incidents in Karol Bagh area resulting in loss of lives and goods, the Delhi High Court Monday directed the North MCD to share building plans of the area with the Delhi Fire Services (DFS) so that a fire audit can be done on priority basis.

A bench of Justice Hima Kohli and Asha Menon asked the North Delhi Municipal Corporation and DFS to appoint nodal officers for regular interaction and communication so that fire audit is given priority.

The court was informed by counsel for DFS that to carry out a fire audit in the entire Karol Bagh area and to locate fire prone areas within the locality, the department will require the building plans of all the properties which was with the North MCD.

“In order to place before this court a realistic estimate of the time schedule required for carrying out a physical verification/ audit of this massive area, the building plans may be directed to be provided to DFS,” the fire department said in status report filed through advocate Gautam Narayan.

The counsel for North MCD submitted that it was willing to cooperate and share the building plans and to give any assistance.

Advocate Satyajit Sarna, representing petitioner Neena Narang who had approached the court regarding problems caused by illegal parking, drew the bench’s attention to an earlier order by which the concerned DCP was directed to ensure that police barricades are not left unmanned on the roads creating a hurdle for fire tenders.

He had brought to the notice of the court four incidents of fire in the Karol Bagh zone. In the fire which broke out in February, 2019, 17 people lost life and 35 persons were injured. The factory fire, which broke out on November 4, 2018 and February 19, 2019 had killed four persons.

The court was also informed by the Delhi Police that it has enforced the court’s earlier order of banning loading and unloading of goods in Karol Bagh market during the day in 13 other markets of the national capital as well to decongest the city.

Besides Karol Bagh, the other markets identified on the basis of foot fall and traffic congestion are Lajpat Nagar, Sarojini Nagar, Rajouri Nagar, Sadar Bazar, Chandni Chowk, Kamla Nagar, Gandhi Nagar, Vikas Marg, Green Park, Yusuf Sarai, Mahipalpur, Tilak Nagar and Dwarka’s sector 10 main market.

The Delhi Police counsel said the traffic police had also taken action against improper, unauthorised and obstructive parking in the markets.

He said the Joint Commissioner of Police (Traffic) has also issued directions to all the field officers to sensitise their staff so that the court’s earlier order is implemented in right earnest.

The court listed the matter for further hearing on September 24.

Advocate Sanjeev Ralli, representing the Karol Bagh Market Association, claimed that serious steps were not being taken by the authorities to enforce court’s order on restrictions of loading and unloading of goods during the day in 14 markets.

Several traders of Karol Bagh market had approached the court saying that they were facing difficulties and their business has gone down as wholesalers who used to buy goods from them have shifted to other markets due to the October 29, 2018 order.

The court was hearing a petition filed by Narang, a resident of the area, regarding problems created by parking of vehicles in almost three out of four lanes in one direction on the roads in Karol Bagh, leaving only a single lane for movement of traffic.

High Court told: 81 unlicensed milk dairies in north MCD areas

The North Delhi Municipal Corporation today told the Delhi High Court that there were 81 unlicensed dairies in the areas under its jurisdiction and that action was taken against some of them by taking away their cattle.

The submission by the corporation was made before a bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar during the hearing of a PIL alleging violation of animal rights and laws in milk dairies in and around the national capital.

The civic body also told the court that only 18 licensed dairies existed in the area under its jurisdiction.

During the brief hearing, petitioner’s lawyer Gauri Maulekhi told the court that the number of unlicensed dairies might be higher than what the corporation was claiming.

The lawyer also urged the court to direct the corporation to strictly adhere to its registration and licensing policy.

However, as the stand of the other corporations and the Delhi government had not yet been filed, the bench decided to wait for their replies before passing any order.

The petition has alleged that the health and well-being of cattle were being severely compromised in dairies in Delhi’s municipal zones.

The PIL by Maulekhi, an animals rights activist, has alleged there was indiscriminate violation of animal rights and, due to lack of infrastructure, there is no proper space for animals who have to sit alternately.

“It’s not uncommon to inject these cattle with Oxytocin, a prescribed drug, to boost milk letdown and sometimes this is done 2-3 times a day,” the plea has claimed.

The plea has also sought closure and proper relocation of dairy units in Delhi.

It claimed that animals were kept in sheds with thatched roofs supported by bamboo sticks in east Delhi’s Ghazipur dairy, while they were forced to live under sheets in Masoodpur dairy near Vasant Kunj in south west Delhi.

Task force to examine safety of buildings, Centre tells Supreme Court: Sealing

The Centre today told the Supreme Court that the special task force (STF), which would be set up to oversee the enforcement of laws to deal with unauthorised constructions and encroachments in Delhi, would also look into the safety aspects of buildings which have been built legally.

The government told a bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta that the STF would examine the safety aspects, like fire fighting, in buildings like schools, hospitals, theatres and restaurants to see whether they complied with the norms.

Additional Solicitor General A N S Nadkarni (ASG), appearing for the Centre, told the bench that they have added one representative from the office of Delhi’s Lieutenant Governor in the task force, which would be chaired by the vice-chairman of the Delhi Development Authority (DDA).

“Even if there is a legal building, the task force will look into the safety aspects like fire and others,” he told the bench.

However, the apex court asked Nadkarni as to what has been done with regard to the issue of depletion of ground water in Delhi. The ASG told the bench they were taking steps in this regard.

The bench, while listing the matter for further hearing on April 24, asked the member secretary of the Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) to remain present before it on the next date to assist it.

The ASG told the bench that proper security arrangements would be put in place for the court-appointed monitoring committee so that they would carry out the sealing drive in Delhi as per the apex court’s mandate.

He said three senior officials of Delhi Police have been asked to coordinate with the committee and chalk out further modalities in this regard. He also handed over to the court a revised note regarding the ongoing sealing drive.

The bench said it would hear this issue on April 24.

The apex court had earlier taken umbrage to the lack of police protection to the monitoring committee for carrying out sealing drive and had termed it a “very serious thing”.

The issue had cropped up after the committee had raised the matter related to police protection when it was scheduled to visit Amar Colony in south Delhi for carrying out their work.

The Centre had last week apprised the court that it has proposed to set up a STF to oversee the enforcement and implementation of laws to deal with unauthorised construction and encroachment in Delhi after consulting all stakeholders.

The STF, to be chaired by the vice-chairman of DDA, would also comprise of commissioners of the three municipal corporation of Delhi (MCDs), chairperson of the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) and the CEO of Delhi Jal Board (DJB).

The other members of STF would be commissioner or secretary of transport, secretary of urban development and secretary of revenue department of the Delhi government, special commissioner (law and order), special commissioner (traffic) of Delhi Police, chief fire officer of Delhi and commissioner (planning) of the DDA.

The ASG had said that STF would identify encroachments on government land, suggest the course of action to Centre with regard to unauthorised colonies in Delhi and oversee effective and proper enforcement of applicable laws by local bodies particularly about violation and unauthorised constructions.

The top court had earlier ordered restoration of its 2006 monitoring committee to identify and seal such offending structures.

The monitoring committee, comprising K J Rao, former advisor to the Election Commissioner, Bhure Lal, chairman of Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority, and Major General (Retd) Som Jhingan, was set up on March 24, 2006, by the court.

The top court is also hearing arguments on validity of the Delhi Laws (Special Provisions) Act, 2006 and subsequent legislations which protect unauthorised construction from being sealed.

PIL in HC alleges collusion between north MCD, builders

PIL in HC alleges collusion between north MCD, builders
PIL in HC alleges collusion between north MCD, builders

The Delhi High Court has sought response of the municipal corporation of north Delhi on a PIL alleging that its officials were “colluding and conniving” with private builders by permitting illegal constructions.

A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar directed the civic body to indicate on affidavit what action it has taken on complaints received by it against unauthorised constructions in the area.

The court sought the North MCD’s reply by March 12, 2018, the next date of hearing of the petition filed by advocate Birender Sangwan who has sought action against the officials of the corporation for allegedly failing to discharge their duties and obligations.

Apart from that, the plea also seeks a CBI probe into the alleged illegalities by the corporation officials and the private builders.

It has also sought action against the vigilance officials of the corporation for allegedly not acting on complaints lodged against unauthorised construction in North Delhi.

( Source – PTI )

Delhi HC unhappy over MCD’s slow pace of building bridge

Delhi HC unhappy over MCD's slow pace of building bridge
Delhi HC unhappy over MCD’s slow pace of building bridge

The slow pace of construction of a bridge here, which is yet to be completed by the MCD after it began in 2008, prompted the Delhi High Court to retort that even a child admitted in nursery that year would finish schooling before the structure could be built.

A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar made the observation while noting that the work was still at the stage of awarding of contract for building a foot-over bridge (FoB) and an underpass on a railway crossing, despite the inauguration of the West Delhi project.

“It is very painful as a citizen of the country and also as of this city. Why don’t you admit that you are not capable to do the work? It’s simply a bridge,” the bench said, adding that “it is not a 10-year plan of the government”.

“A child who was four years old at the beginning of the construction of a bridge here is now about to finish his schooling but the work is yet to start,” it further said.

The sharp observations came when the high court bench was informed that the BJP-run Municipal Corporation of Delhi was yet to complete the construction of an FoB and an underpass on a railway crossing, at Nangloi and Sultanpuri, respectively, in West Delhi.

“How do we make you do your duty? Whom do you listen to? The CBI or the vigilance? It is a simple foot over bridge over a railway track, the construction work of which was to begin in 2009.

“It is just an over bridge over a railway line. This is 21st century India. You started it in 2009 and now want to complete it in 2019,” it noted and asked why the North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) should not hand over the contract to Delhi Metro.

The contract for construction of the bridge was given on September 3, 2009, but despite passage of eight years, the matter is still at the stage of awarding the contract, the court observed, adding, via its May 11 order it had called upon the NDMC to place the timeline of completion of the project and escalation in the cost of work since it was conceptualised.

After cancelling the contract in 2015, a new contract has not been finalised while the cost of the work has risen from Rs 38.97 crore in 2010 to Rs 56.82 crore in 2017. Neither delay in completion nor escalation of amount can be tolerated, the court said.

“Let the last order and this one be given to the ministry of transport for intervention and examination of the matter, so that the same can be taken up expeditiously,” it said.

The court has now fixed the matter for further hearing on October 16.

The court was hearing a PIL, filed by a Delhi-based activist Sandeep Kumar, alleging that delay in construction of a railway FoB and underpass at Nangloi and Sultanpuri in West Delhi was creating problems for commuters and residents of the area.

The projects were undertaken as the railway crossings in these areas were unmanned and had led to many fatal accidents in the past.

( Source – PTI )

Delhi HC asks MCDs to streamline work of safai karamcharis

Delhi HC asks MCDs to streamline work of safai karamcharis
Delhi HC asks MCDs to streamline work of safai karamcharis

Lambasting the three municipal corporations here for their “lack of will to work”, the Delhi High Court today asked them to streamline the duties of safai karamcharis to ensure regular removal of garbage from the city roads.

A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar suggested installing of biometric attendance system and use of instant messaging application like WhatsApp to ensure the presence of safai karamcharis for cleanliness in the area they are entrusted with.

“There is a lacuna in assigning of the work to the safai karamcharis and their presence on the spot. Try and streamline a process through which those present at the site can send the picture of the area they have cleaned. They be also asked to put their attendance on the biometric machines, twice or thrice a day.

“You regulate their working hours, there will be visible difference in Delhi today and tomorrow,” the bench said, adding that “because of your lack of will to work, people of Delhi cannot be made to suffer from malaria, dengue and chikungunya”.

The bench made the observation while asking the MCDs that if they were ensuring proper work, why was so much garbage seen on the city roads.

It also said the supervisors should personally keep a tab on the safai karamcharis, so that they perform their duties.

On this, the counsel for the corporations told the court that the people living in unauthorised colony threw garbage on the on roads which remained uncleaned some time.

The bench said for such problems, the authorities should have thought before regularising the unauthorised colonies.

“You (Delhi government and MCDs) are lavishly regularising colonies. See what we have to face. Stop ruthless regularisation. Right to shelter for one cannot be inconvenience to other law-abiding citizens,” the bench said.

It also asked the authorities to create an awareness programme and educate people of Delhi to overcome such a situation.

“We need to move ahead and undergo some education, like the Delhi State Legal Services Authority is already working on a project in this regard,” the bench said and sought to know the action plan of the Centre, the Delhi government and the MCDs for disposing of the garbage.

It also asked the Delhi government to inform it about the funds they have been paying to all the three corporations here for making payment to the safai karamcharis.

The matter was then listed for hearing tomorrow.

The court was hearing two pleas accusing the AAP government and the MCDs of not acting vigilantly and responsibly to control dengue and chikungunya outbreaks.

Earlier during the hearing of the pleas, it had also noted that there has been “wilful violation and disobedience” of the court orders to collect and dispose of garbage.

The court had taken note of the matter after a TV news channel showed garbage “overflowing” on to roads from ‘dhalaos’ and “stretching for miles”.

The issue of lack of solid waste disposal was taken up by the court after it was told that it contributes to breeding of mosquitoes which cause vector borne diseases like dengue and chikungunya.

( Source – PTI )

Delhi HC issues notice to MCD commissioners on lack of cleanliness

Delhi HC issues notice to MCD commissioners on lack of cleanliness
Delhi HC issues notice to MCD commissioners on lack of cleanliness

The Delhi High Court today issued notices to the commissioners of all three municipal corporations to show cause why contempt action be not taken against them for failing to ensure cleanliness in the national capital.

The order was passed by a bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar which said there has been “wilful violation and disobedience” of court orders to collect and dispose of garbage.

The order came after another news video by a TV channel showed garbage “overflowing” on to roads from ‘dhalaos’ and “stretching for miles”.

The issue of lack of solid waste disposal was taken up by the court after it was told that it contributes to breeding of mosquitoes which cause vector borne diseases like dengue and chikungunya.

The issue was highlighted during hearing of two PILs seeking directions to the authorities to take steps to prevent such diseases from occurring in Delhi.

‘Breach of timelines by govt hurts ‘judicial conscience”

'Breach of timelines by govt hurts 'judicial conscience''
‘Breach of timelines by govt hurts ‘judicial conscience”

Tax-payers’ money is “going down the drain” as the authorities are squandering it by delaying development projects, the Delhi High Court has said, terming it as “a very sorry state of affairs”.

The sharp observations came when a high court bench was informed that the BJP-run Municipal Corporation of Delhi was yet to complete the construction of a foot-over bridge (FoB) and an underpass on a railway line, despite the fact that the project in West Delhi was inaugurated way back in 2008.

“Everyone present in this courtroom pays tax. It pains our judicial conscience, when we deal with such issues. The authorities are squandering taxpayers’ money and this speaks of a very sorry state of affairs,” a bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Anu Malhotra said.

The court took note of the fact that the MCD was in breach of even the extended time-line of 2014 and said “the misuse of taxpayers’ money by authorities must stop at all cost. They have a monopoly in determining as to how our money is spent.”

The project is not “even moving at snail’s pace”, it said adding that BJP, which has won the MCD polls third time in a row, is ruling the tri-furcated civic body for over ten years now and yet projects are far from being completed.

“The authorities, whether it is the corporation or the government, are not understanding that we pay for these projects. Our money is being misused and it is going down the drains,” it said, adding that the breach of time-lines again and again must have escalated the project cost by many notches.

The civic body, during the hearing, could not apprise the court about the escalated cost of the two projects.

The High Court has now asked the municipal body to file a status report by July 25 indicating the time-line within which they propose to complete the projects.

It was hearing a PIL, filed by Delhi-based activist Sandeep Kumar, alleging that delay in construction of a railway FoB and the underpass at Nangloi and Sultanpuri respectively in West Delhi was creating problems for commuters.

The projects were undertaken as the railway crossing in these areas were unmanned and had led to many fatal accidents in past.

( Source – PTI )

Complainant told to file docs on plea against Kejriwal

Complainant told to file docs on plea against Kejriwal
Complainant told to file docs on plea against Kejriwal

A city court today asked a man to file several documents in a criminal complaint seeking lodging of an FIR against Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal for allegedly misleading people by saying that the municipal corporations were not under state’s control.

Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Munish Markan asked complainant Brijesh Shukla to submit documents relating to his claim that the Delhi Government had spent over Rs 42 lakh by giving advertisements in 20 newspapers which were allegedly misleading.

The court fixed January 13 next year for further hearing in the matter.

The complainant’s counsel Rajesh Kumar had earlier informed the court that in an RTI reply, Delhi government has admitted that a total expense of Rs 42,01,405 was incurred in giving advertisements to the newspapers on October 30, 2015.

He had argued that public money was wasted for “spreading lies” and people were “misled”.

The complainant has sought direction to the SHO of Karawal Nagar police station in North East Delhi to register an FIR against Kejriwal under Section 406 (criminal breach of trust) of IPC.

The complaint has claimed that Kejriwal had come out with full-page advertisements in newspapers in October last saying there were misunderstandings regarding a strike by MCD employees and he wanted to make it clear that it was wrong to say that the corporations fell under the Delhi government.

“In November 2015, I filed an RTI with Delhi government which in its reply has said that the corporations are under its control. Action should be initiated against him (Kejriwal) for misleading people and spending public money for spreading lies,” the complainant has said.

Shukla claimed he had also filed complaints to the Deputy Commissioner of Police and the Lieutenant Governor seeking lodging of FIR against Kejriwal for allegedly misappropriating public fund, but no action was taken.

Shukla, the complainant, had recently allegedly thrown ink at Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia outside the LG’s office.

( Source – PTI )

‘MCDs plan awaited on seismic zone-IV buildings’

'MCDs plan awaited on seismic zone-IV buildings'
‘MCDs plan awaited on seismic zone-IV buildings’

The AAP government has informed the Delhi High Court that an “action plan” on making buildings here compliant with the Building Code, 2005 for seismic zone-IV was still awaited from the three municipal corporations.

In its affidavit filed before a bench of justices Badar Durrez Ahmed and Ashutosh Kumar, the Delhi government said despite its “sincere efforts” to comply with the court’s earlier directions, the matter was still lying with the three corporations.

The court had earlier directed the government to inform it about the steps taken for finalising the building bye-laws and for taking action for making the structures compliant with stipulations under Building Code, 2005 for seismic zone-IV.

“Despite all above exercise, the reply/action plan is still awaited from all the three municipal corporations of Delhi i.e. NDMC, EDMC and SDMC. Hence, another letter dated July 20, 2016 has been again sent to all the three MCDs for submission of the requisite action plans. The action plans in the prescribed common lines are still awaited,” the affidavit said.

It further said, “It is clear that all sincere efforts have been made by this department (Directorate of Local Bodies in Urban Development Department) for compliance of the orders of the court and the matter is lying with all the three MCDs i.e. NDMC, EDMC and SDMC.”

The court is hearing a petition by advocate Arpit Bhargava questioning how safe were buildings in Delhi if a major earthquake hits the city. The matter is now listed for hearing on September 7.

The court had earlier observed that Delhi falls in a high risk seismic zone IV and had sought action plans from various authorities to ensure that buildings in the city survived an earthquake.

( Source – PTI )