Expressing disapproval over the practice of dumping garbage on roads as a mark of protest, the Delhi High Court has said it was “completely intolerable”.
A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar was referring to the recent agitation by New Delhi Municipal Council’s (NDMC) contractual sanitation workers who dumped garbage outside prominent buildings, like Shastri Bhavan and Rail Bhavan in Lutyen’s Delhi, demanding regularisation of jobs and better wages.
The protesting workers on May 24 had also dumped garbage outside NDMC’s Convention Centre.
The garbage dumps had affected traffic in some areas.
Referring to the incident, the high court said,”This is no way of protesting. It is completely intolerable. It is also a public health issue.”
This is not the first time that municipal staff have resorted to this manner of protest.
A few years back sanitation workers of East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) had dumped garbage on roads and even prevented private players, temporarily hired by the civic body, from cleaning it up.
They were protesting against non-payment of wages for several months.
The high court had to step in and issue directions to ensure cleanliness in the areas under EDMC control.
The Delhi High Court today dismissed a plea by Tata Group-owned Indian Hotels Company Ltd (IHCL), challenging the tender procedure of the proposed auction of Delhi’s Taj Mahal Hotel by the NDMC.
The verdict was pronounced by a bench of Justices S Ravindra Bhat and A K Chawla.
The court had reserved its arguments on May 3 after hearing arguments of the counsel for the IHCL and New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) which had claimed that it had not prejudiced Tatas in any way.
The apex court had on April 20 last year allowed the civic agency to e-auction five-star hotel Taj Mansingh, currently being run by Tata Group firm IHCL, in the heart of the national capital.
The Tatas had moved the division bench of the high court against the September 5, 2016, judgement of a single judge who had not acceded to the firm’s request for renewal of licence for a further period, saying it was not entitled for the extension.
The IHCL had submitted in the court that the NDMC has failed to consider the last year’s order of the Supreme Court that they had an unblemished track record.
The property, owned by the NDMC, was given to the IHCL on a lease of 33 years. The lease had ended in 2011 and the company was given nine temporary extensions since then on various grounds, with three of them granted last year itself.
The NDMC had announced the e-auction of its premium hotels in Lutyen’s Delhi Taj Mansingh, The Connaught and Hotel Asian International for a period of 33 years.
The Delhi High Court has asked the NDMC and police to ensure that no commercial activity is allowed on the roads outside the Blind Relief Association near Oberoi Hotel after it was alleged that illegal parking there was causing immense problems to the visually challenged.
A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar also issued notices to the Delhi government, New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) and the traffic police of the area, seeking status reports on the issue before the next date of hearing on January 24 next year.
The court issued the direction on a letter written by senior advocate Dushyant Dave, seeking its intervention to stop illegal parking and commercial activities carried outside the Blind Relief Association on Lal Bahadur Shastri Marg.
Turning the letter into a public interest litigation (PIL), the bench said that for smooth movement of visually challenged persons, the area needs to be regulated. It asked the NDMC and police to ensure that no commercial activity is allowed on the roads there.
Dave’s letter, received by the high court on October 25, has highlighted the extraordinary problems and miseries faced by the visually challenged persons.
He has said that it was difficult for physically challenged persons to access the bus stop on either side of the road due to the heavy and fast moving traffic.
The association focuses on providing education and training to the visually challenged, enabling them to realise their potential and be self reliant.
His letter complained that the footpath is occupied by illegally parked vehicles in the area.
It said that due to ongoing construction at the hotel, the roads are blocked and barricaded.
“No action is being taken taken by the civil and police authorities to improve the situation including overflow of sewage water near the association,” he said.
The counsel has sought direction to construct an overhead footbridge to enable the visitors to the institute to commute comfortably.
He urged the court to ask the authorities not to allow stoppage of vehicles on road.
The National Green Tribunal today directed the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) to maintain a round-the-clock vigil at the Sarojini Nagar market here to ensure that vehicles are not parked on the streets around it.
A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar asked the civic body and the traffic police to ensure deployment of appropriate force at the famous South Delhbi market place.
“You (traffic police) deploy force even at night so that people don’t park their vehicles on the road,” the bench observed.
The observation came after advocate Sakshi Popli, appearing for NDMC, told the tribunal that though people were parking their vehicles at the multi-level facility during the day, the shopkeepers were parking their cars on the roads at night.
She informed the bench that the NDMC was still facing non-cooperation from the local shopkeepers as they were unwilling to take monthly passes for the multi-level parking which costs around Rs 2,000.
The lawyer said additional police force should be deployed to ban surface parking in the market.
Advocate Tarunvir Singh Khehar, appearing for the Delhi traffic police, told the NGT that they have towed away 11,500 cars till date.
Rejecting a plea by the market association to park vehicles on the roads, the NGT had on November 17 banned parking in the market and said the violators would be fined Rs 5,000 as environmental compensation, in addition to the fines mentioned under the Motor Vehicles Act.
The green panel had directed the shopkeepers and the shoppers to park their vehicles at the multi-level parking lot built by the NDMC, which remains open round-the-clock.
The NGT had directed the corporation to consider reducing the parking fees for shopkeepers who live in the area.
It had also directed the NDMC to cancel the contract of the contractors engaged in surface parking business in the popular market.
It had directed the officials of Delhi Traffic Police and the enforcement department of the Delhi government to be present continuously for two weeks near the multi-level parking lot and ensure compliance of its directions.
The recent deaths of manual scavengers in the national capital has come under the scanner of the Delhi High Court which today sought a time-bound implementation of the procedure for cleaning sewers and septic tanks.
A bench of justices S Ravindra Bhat and Sunil Gaur was informed by the Delhi government that the Lieutenant Governor has recently set up a committee to examine various measures for the implementation of ‘The Prohibition of Employment of Manual Scavenger and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013’ and rules.
The court asked the three municipal corporations, Delhi Jal Board, Public Works Department, Delhi Cantonment Board, New Delhi Municipal Council and the divisional railway manager of Northern Railway to implement the procedure and to give a time frame within which it would be accomplished.
“You need to constitute rules and methodology,” the bench said and listed the matter for September 27.
The government’s counsel said the committee will have the mandate to prepare an action plan for cleaning of drains, sewer lines and septic tanks through mechanical means.
A report filed by the Delhi government said the committee will chalk out a road map to achieve 100 per cent mechanisation along with estimated time frame.
Its mandate would be to “prepare Standard Operating Practices (SOPs) for cleaning of sewer lines, sepctic tanks and covered drains having sewer like character. The SOPs prepared will take into account the various provisions of the Act and rules dealing with the safety, health and life insurance of the workers”.
The report said that the SoPs prepared by the committee shall be implemented by all the agencies diligently and if the work is executed through contract, the SOPs shall also be applicable to all the contractors.
The committee, which was formed on September 5, has to submit its report to the LG within a period of two weeks, it said.
The court also asked amicus curiae Sanjay Poddar and petitioner advocate Ashok Agarwal to inform it about the drawbacks of the model rules framed by the central government on the issue.
Taking a strong view of the recent deaths of manual scavengers, the high court had earlier directed the heads of all civic bodies in Delhi to explain how such activity was going on despite being prohibited under the law.
The court was informed by the amicus curiae in August that in little over a month, 10 people have died in four incidents while cleaning sewers in the national capital without any protective gear or safety measures in place.
All of them had suffocated to death due to the toxic fumes in the sewer lines.
The court was hearing of a PIL filed in 2007 for the rehabilitation of manual scavengers.
It had earlier termed as “disgraceful” the existence of manual scavenging in the city despite a law prohibiting such a practice and had said, “We are a country of poor people but not for the poor people.”
It is “ridiculous and shocking”, the court had observed when informed by the Delhi State Legal Services Authority (DSLSA) that one of the manual scavengers was a “graduate”.
The DSLSA, in an interim report, had said that there were manual scavengers in the national capital even after the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013 came into force.
The Supreme Court today asked the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) to reconsider its decision of auctioning the iconic Taj Mansingh Hotel in wake of the Attorney General and Solicitor General’s opinion not to initiate any such process.
The apex court noted the fact that the opinions of both the top law officers against the auctioning of the hotel was not placed before the Ministry of Home Affairs for consideration.
A bench of Justices Pinaki Ghose and R F Nariman also took note of the fact that there was also an internal opinion of the top office bearers of NDMC against the auctioning process.
“At this stage, we direct NDMC to reconsider its decision in view of its own internal opinion and the opinions of the Attorney General and Solicitor General. The report should be filed within six weeks,” the bench said.
During the hearing, the bench said that “the Attorney General and Solicitor General’s opinion was not looked upon by MHA. You (NDMC) have not placed the opinions before the ministry concerned. We do not know what the ministry would have said if the opinions were placed before it”.
It told Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain that NDMC has told the ministry that opinions of the AG and SG which have favoured extension of lease, are still awaited.
“It is strange and doesn’t look bonafide. The AG and SG’s opinions should have been placed before the ministry concerned,” the bench said.
It asked Jain whether NDMC agrees to reconsider the decision of going ahead with the auctioning process.
To this, the ASG said, “No, it can’t be done.”
“Why are you not agreeing to reconsider the decision. It not a matter of right. Do you not want to be fair to the party who has been paying the rent constinously for 30 years,” the bench said.
The Tata’s Indian Hotels Company Ltd (IHCL), which has challenged a Delhi High Court order allowing NDMC to auction the hotel here, had earlier told the apex court that it was “not clear” why NDMC wanted to auction the prime property which gave the “best revenue” to it.
The Delhi High Court Tuesday slammed the civic agencies of Delhi for not taking steps to desilt drains and prevent waterlogging during rains, and asked them to present maps related to the drainage system by Aug 28.
The municipal corporations and the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) failed to file a status report on the measures taken by them to prevent waterlogging. It was second time when the agencies failed to file the status report with the court.
A division bench of Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice Vipin Sanghi came down heavily on the civic agencies and said: “Drains must be clear. There are no short-term measures to stop waterlogging in the city. If you don’t know the number of drains in the area, how will you clean them?”
“Our job is not to perform duty on your behalf. Our duty is to ensure that you perform the duty,” the bench said, noting that the civic agencies were not performing their duty.
The civic agency claimed that long-term plans were there as per the Master Plan 2021 to solve the problem.
The court said: “Year after year waterlogging problem occurs. You cannot ask citizens to wait for implementation of your long-term plans.”
The court asked the civic agencies to place on record the maps related to drains by next week.
The order came while hearing a contempt plea filed by an NGO charging the civic agencies with non-compliance of the court’s July 11 order, which directed them to take steps to end the problem of waterlogging in Delhi in 15 days.
NGO Nyaya Bhoomi president B.B. Sharan asked the court to initiate contempt of court proceedings against the officials of the civic bodies.
Counsel for the NDMC said no complaint of waterlogging was reported in its area.
The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) informed the Delhi High Court Monday that it has approved rules for recruitment of two special teachers for disabled students in each government school in the city.
Counsel for the UPSC told Justice Indermeet Kaur that the UPSC has sent draft recruitment rules for the post of special educator (primary), as approved by the commission, to the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD).
The UPSC filed its reply after the court July this year issued notices to the UPSC and the Delhi Subordinate Services Selection Board (DSSSB) over an alleged delay in posting two special teachers for disabled students.
The directions for appointing special teachers were given to the Delhi government and the civic agencies in 2009.
The court had issued notice to the UPSC when counsel for the MCD told the court that the matter rested with the UPSC and as and when the commission would respond, the necessary requisition would be sent to the DSSSB in regard to 1,790 posts of special teachers.
The court directed the MCD to take further steps to comply with its orders and submit compliance report before the next date of hearing Jan 23, 2012.
The court’s order came on a rejoinder filed by NGO Social Jurist to the response of the Delhi government and the MCD.
Meanwhile, the Delhi government informed the court that the DSSSB has advertised for recruitment of 858 posts of special teachers.
“The applications will be accepted from Oct 24, and will close on Nov 17,” said Delhi government counsel.
The Social Jurist said that the court in 2009 directed the Delhi government, the MCD and the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) to ensure that each of their schools had at least two special teachers and teaching aids for students with disability.
The Delhi High Court Friday directed New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) to submit a site plan to sort out parking problems in the upscale Khan Market in central Delhi.
A division bench headed by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul said: “You (NDMC) submit your site plan demarcating the area for paid parking and for free parking.”
The court also asked the agency to submit an affidavit by July 26.The court earlier asked market traders and the NDMC to consider various options, including managing of the parking lots jointly, to avoid a confrontation over the civic agency’s plan to discontinue free parking.
The judge was hearing an appeal filed by the traders’ association against the court’s earlier order asking it to pay a monthly licence fee of Rs.5.34 lakh to the NDMC before June 6 to ensure free parking of vehicles.
In the event of failure to pay the fee, the civic body would be allowed to collect parking fees from vehicles parked in the market, the court said.
The parking problem in Khan Market has increased manifold over the years, with 74 residential flats in the market converted into restaurants and other commercial establishments apart from the already existing 150 shops.