SDMC shifting responsibility to trap and translocate monkeys : Delhi High Court

The AAP government told the Delhi High Court Tuesday that the South Delhi Municipal Corporation was shifting the responsibility of trapping and translocating monkeys from the city.

The Chief Wildlife Warden (CWW) of Delhi government said the civic agency cannot abdicate its responsibility on the pretext of a letter which is not valid in respect of trapping the monkeys from habitation areas.

The CWW’s submission came in an affidavit filed before a bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice V K Rao which listed the matter for further hearing on March 6.

“The contention of SDMC about the local body being not empowered to catch monkeys is not valid,” said the affidavit, filed through Delhi government additional standing counsel Anuj Aggarwal.

“By making such application, it is a move by the municipal corporation to shift the responsibility of trapping and translocation of monkeys from the inhabited areas and the civic agency cannot abdicate its responsibility on the pretext of a letter which is not valid in respect of trapping monkeys from habitation areas of Delhi,” it said.

It also stated that the monkeys in the inhabited areas in Delhi are commensal in nature and not those found in the wild and these commensal monkeys have evolved by adapting themselves to live close to human habitations and sustain on food provided by the residents of the nearby areas.

The court was informed that in pursuance to earlier direction, a meeting of all the concerned authorities was held under the chairmanship of Principal Secretary (Urban Development) on January 23.

The Delhi government said officials of all the civic agencies in the national capital had participated in the meeting and action points, which are to be followed, were decided to implement the judgement of the high court in tackling monkey menace here.

The court was hearing a public interest litigation filed by advocate Meera Bhatia for directions to the authorities to take steps to deal with the menace of monkeys in the city.

The court had earlier noted that the problem of increasing monkey population was “aggravating with each passing day” and that the increase in simian numbers would not wait for testing of the oral vaccine for sterilising them.

NGO Wildlife SOS had earlier told the court that monkey population is rapidly increasing in urban areas due to the easy access to food, especially in garbage, as compared to forest areas where they have to forage for food.

The SDMC had earlier told the court that it “lacked the expertise” and was ill-equipped to catch monkeys.

Advocate Gaurang Kanth, appearing for the SDMC, had made the submission while seeking modification of the court’s 2007 direction to it to catch monkeys and relocate them in the Ridge area of the city.

The Delhi government, in the affidavit, added that that it had floated two tenders for catching and sterilising monkeys, but it found no takers.

It said it has been decided in the January meeting that in case the bid fails for the third time, the animal husbandry department may be assigned the job of earmarking at least one animal hospital within each MCDs and New Delhi Municipal Council to start the work of laparoscopic sterilisation of monkeys at least in four such identified hospitals.

The strength of doctors and other supporting staff may be enriched by the fund provided by Ministry of Environment and Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC), placed at the disposal of CWW, it said, adding that the animal husbandry department may strengthen infrastructure facilities for smooth process of sterilisation of simians.

The affidavit stated that entire cost of sterilisation and post sterilisation care would be met by the funds give by MoEF and there would not be any burden of Delhi government or civic agencies.

“The job of catching the monkeys, transporting them to animal hospital ear marked for sterilisation and then releasing them back to the same location would be done by the concerned civic agency under the supervision of enforcement committee headed by CWW,” it said.

It said that till the sterilisation process begins, the job of catching monkeys and releasing them in Asola Bhati Wildlife Sanctuary will be continued by the civic agencies as per the high court’s order.

The high court had earlier asked the Delhi government to come out with an alternative plan to reduce the increasing monkey population in the national capital if it was not finding any bidders for its tenders to sterilise the simians.

HC to Delhi govt: Ensure proper street-lighting in city

The Delhi High Court today directed the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government and the civic bodies to ensure proper street-lighting in the national capital on a plea alleging that the LED lights on public roads and streets of south Delhi were not functioning.

A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar disposed of the petition after the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) informed it that according to a joint inspection by the civic bodies, the Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), the manufacturer of the lights, the BSES and the petitioners, 97 per cent of the street lights were functioning.

“During the pendency of the matter, a joint inspection stands conducted. Parties have participated. Respondent 5 (SDMC) has submitted that 97 per cent of the lights were functional. Nodal officers from the Delhi government to look into the functioning of street lights and hold regular meeting with the petitioners. Ensure that proper street lights are provided. The petition is disposed of,” the bench said.

The petition was filed by south Delhi residents Manjeet Singh Chugh and Ravi Gopal Krishnan, alleging that the LED lights on the public roads and streets of south Delhi were either not working or not being maintained or replaced.

During the hearing, the petitioners had sought a third-party investigation into the condition of the nearly two lakh street lights.

“The street lights are improper. The illumination is inadequate and there is no proper earthing,” the petitioners had told the court.

They had also pointed out that several crimes were committed on the Delhi roads as they continued to be dark.

“There are electric poles and lights but they never work or are very dim. If they are properly maintained, many crimes can be averted,” the petition had said, adding that vast stretches of the roads remained dark, despite crores of rupees being spent on LED lighting.

No eatery in Hauz Khas Village has sanctioned building plan:HC

 Not a single restaurant or pub in south Delhi’s Hauz Khas Village have taken a sanctioned building plan from the municipal authorities to run their businesses, the Delhi High Court has observed.

A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar made the observation after the south Delhi municipal corporation (SDMC) replied in the negative to a court query whether it had sanctioned a single building plan for an eatery or a pub in the area.

“Have you sanctioned even a single building plan for a restaurant,” it had asked the SDMC and said, “not one (restaurant) has taken a sanctioned building plan”.

The court also said the municipal corporation “does not apply its mind” on whether sufficient space and other facilities for the public are in place when it permits such establishments to come up.

The corporation in its defence said it was not the only one to be blamed for the situation and it was a collective failure of all authorities concerned.

The observations by the bench came during the hearing of arguments in the PILs filed by social activist Pankaj Sharma and advocate Anuja Kapur, who have also alleged that over 120 pubs and restaurants were running in the Hauz Khas Village without any approved building plans or no objection certificate (NOC) from the authorities including the fire department.

The arguments will continue on January 19.

The petitioners in their pleas have also alleged that the streets in the village were not wide enough for a fire tender to move easily in case of an emergency.

The court had earlier termed the Hauz Khas Village as “a ticking time bomb”.

Illegal construction needs to be stopped in Delhi: Delhi HC

Illegal construction needs to be stopped in Delhi: Delhi HC
Illegal construction needs to be stopped in Delhi: Delhi HC

It is “high time” that illegal construction, rampant in the national capital, needs to be stopped, the Delhi High Court has observed.

A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar said the people of Delhi and the public officials have to be made to ensure that the law has to be strictly complied with.

“Judicial notice can be taken of the fact that when a building is illegally constructed, it impacts not only the physical enjoyment of the property of the neighbours but also results in unwarranted and illegal intervention in water circulation and the sewage system, which has been rampant in the city,” the bench said.

It said that “development has to abide by the statutory Master Plan of the city”.

The court observed this during the hearing of a PIL by the All India Anti Corruption and Crime Prevention Society seeking direction to the authorities to demolish 75 illegally constructed units under the South Delhi Municipal Corporation.

The NGO sought direction to the CBI to register cases and initiate enquiries against the officials of the municipal corporations under whose jurisdiction illegal construction were allowed.

It also urged the court to order a demolition of the illegal properties in question.

The court declined to order a CBI probe and demolition of illegal construction, observing that it would do so only when the correct and complete picture is brought before it.

It said the court commissioners, appointed by it to physically inspect such properties, should file reports regarding the illegal constructions under the three municipal corporations.

Acting on the PIL, the bench on May 16 had appointed the court commissioners after it found that illegal constructions were rampant in Delhi.

Though the petitioner had complained about the properties in the South Delhi Municipal Corporation, the bench had asked its commissioners — former CBI director D R Karthikeyan, former India Habitat Centre Director R M S Liberhan and retired trial court judge Ravinder Kaur — to conduct physical inspection of such constructions in the North Delhi Municipal Corporation and East Delhi Municipal Corporation as well.

It had also directed the municipal bodies to appoint nodal officers to provide assistance to court commissioners.

During the hearing, it noted that there is substance in the grievance raised by the petitioner, as such unauthorised construction has severe impact on the sanitation and health conditions in the city.

“Such unauthorised constructions have changed the density projections of the city putting extreme pressures on public streets impacting mobility and pollution.

“It is therefore, high time that meaningful order can be passed on the unauthorised and illegal constructions which are rampant and require to be stopped. Rather it should be stated that the citizens of Delhi as well as public officials are to be made to ensure that the provisions of law are strictly complied with,” the bench added.

( Source – PTI )

HC reserves verdict on pleas against MCD election

The Delhi High Court today reserved its verdict on pleas seeking quashing of the notification laying down the manner of allocation of wards for reserved categories and women in the upcoming MCD polls.

“Arguments heard. Judgement reserved,” a bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Chander Shekhar

said.

Terming the petitions as “absurd”, the Delhi state election commission has told the court that there was “no unreasonableness” in the process of the allocation of the seats.

It argued that none of the political parties, who are the major stake holders in the present poll, has challenged their formula.

“It was so, because they were part of the consultation process, after which only we have taken the decision,” the commission, represented by advocate Sumeet Pushkarna, said.

It was responding to the pleas by NGOs and several social activists, who have sought quashing of the notification laying down the manner of allocation of wards for reserved categories and women in the upcoming MCD polls.

They have also challenged the commission’s February 6 notification, announcing the election for 272 wards of the three municipal corporations here.

The elections are scheduled to be held on April 22.

In its pleas, the NGOs have said that the Delhi Municipal Corporation (DMC) in 2011 was divided into three zone — North Delhi Municipal Corporation, East Delhi Municipal Corporation and South Delhi Municipal Corporation.

They said while the number of wards in each of the three corporations 104 each in South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) and North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) and 64 in East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) has remained the same, the number of wards in a few assembly segments has changed, ranging from three to seven.

Claiming that the present notification was contrary to the Constitution as well as Section 3 of the DMC Act, one of the pleas demanded that it should be quashed and a fresh circular issued in accordance with the law.

It has sought direction to identify and determine the municipal wards for the purpose of reservation for scheduled caste, women and general category in terms of Article 243 of the Constitution.

The Article provides for reservation of seats for the scheduled castes in the municipal area by rotation to different constituency in the municipality.

Source : PTI

Panel to survey if CNG, petrol road sweeping vehicles

Panel to survey if CNG, petrol road sweeping vehicles
Panel to survey if CNG, petrol road sweeping vehicles

The National Green Tribunal today directed the Chief Secretary of Delhi to form a committee of all the three municipal corporations to conduct market survey on availability of CNG and petrol road sweeping machines.

A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar directed the committee to examine the matter raised by South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) which sought permission to purchase diesel-run road sweeping machines having engine capacity of over 2000 CC.

SDMC sought tribunal’s permission to purchase the diesel vehicles saying that CNG and petrol-operated machines were not available in the market.

Disposing of the plea, the tribunal said, “The committee will conduct or get conducted market survey whether road sweeping machines are available in CNG or petrol or not.”

If such CNG or petrol-run machines are not available, the Delhi government will direct purchase of these machines for road sweeping and other related purposes, the bench said.

“If the answer is affirmative, then efforts will be made to purchase preferably CNG and then petrol vehicles instead of diesel,” it said.

The green panel also said the work should be done expeditiously and thereafter, directed the transport department of Delhi government to register the vehicles.

The bench was hearing a petition filed by Vardhaman Kaushik over worsening air quality in Delhi.

( Source – PTI )

Hawkers encroach upon shopkeepers’ rights: Court

Hawkers encroach upon shopkeepers' rights: Court
Hawkers encroach upon shopkeepers’ rights: Court

Hawkers encroach upon the fundamental rights of shopkeepers who are carrying their business from commercial establishments and also create security problem for the public, a Delhi court has said.

Senior Civil Judge Gaurav Rao also said shopkeepers pay huge rents, taxes and make investments for carrying on their business while hawkers merely sit in front of the shops and start doing their business without paying anything or having to buy a piece of land.

“It is also very well known that hawking business at times causes law and order problem on account of quarrel between hawkers and shopkeepers in front of whose shops the hawkers put up their stalls/business.

“Hawkers at times encroach upon the fundamental rights of the shopkeepers who are carrying on their business from commercial establishments/ shops, are paying huge rents, taxes and have made huge investments as against the hawkers/ squatters who merely sit in front of their shops and start doing their business without paying any rent, taxes and without having to spent on buying the piece of land from which they operate/carry on their business,” the court said.

It also said that at times hawking results in injustice to shopkeepers and is against the principle of fair play.

“Hawking results in inconvenience to the public at large as well as proves dangerous to the safety/security of the public,” the magistrate said.

The court’s observations came while deciding a suit against a hawker who sought direction to restrain South Delhi Municipal Corporation and SHO of Nehru Place Police Station from evicting from a shop in Nehru Place market.

He said he was selling mobile accessories there since 2005 and has never caused hindrance to anybody including other shop owners.

The municipal corporation said in its reply that plaintiff was an encroacher and cannot claim a right on the government land and the LG had in 2009 declared Nehru Place as “No hawking zone” so his suit is liable to be dismissed.

The court, while dismissing the hawker’s suit, said the kind of hawking he wanted was in fact a permission to put a permanent structure or to have a permanent place of business on a government land which cannot be permitted.

“Therefore, in the case at hand the plaintiff has no right whatsoever to carry on the business from the suit property. Accordingly, he is not entitled to the relief of permanent injunction as prayed for,” the court said.

(Source : PTI)

 

Flouting bldng norms: NGT asks SDMC to act against big players

Flouting bldng norms: NGT asks SDMC to act against big players
Flouting bldng norms: NGT asks SDMC to act against big players

The National Green Tribunal has taken exception to South Delhi Municipal Corporation’s levy of fine on “minor” nature of construction violation and directed it to crack the whip on commercial builders.

The green panel expressed displeasure on the penalty imposed on constructions being carried out on smaller plots rather than initiating action against big players in the real estate sector.

“Have you (SDMC) challaned a single builder for violation of construction norms? Have you caught hold of single commercial builder in South Delhi,” a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar said.

The observation came during hearing of a case related to air pollution in which it had last year issued notices to various persons to show cause why environmental compensation of Rs 50,000 not be imposed upon them for causing pollution.

When the noticees appeared before the bench, they challenged the notices being issued to them and sought inspection report from SDMC.

However, the counsel appearing for the SDMC submitted that the officers have physically inspected the sites and thereafter issued notices to the owner of the houses.

Taking note of submissions, the tribunal directed the SDMC lawyer to instruct the officer concerned to be present with complete records of the inspection and the violation found by them on the next date of hearing.

It also ordered municipal corporations to maintain a separate account of environmental compensation paid under the orders of the tribunal and restrained the civic bodies from spending it without its permission.

During the hearing, the NGT also reduced the fine amount on violators depending on the size of plots of the owners.

“We have heard the noticees who are present. The general plea being raised before the tribunal is that most of the noticees have owned properties less than 100 square yard and even less than 50 square yard and they have not committed any violation. We see that the violation committed is of a very minor nature. They have kept their construction materials within their premises.

“On the facts and circumstances of the case, we are of the considered view that the amount of environmental compensation could be reduced in all these cases. Therefore, we direct that the person/noticees whose houses are built or were being under repair, on a plot area of 50 square yard or less, would be liable to pay environmental compensation of only Rs 5000 each,” the bench said.

( Source – PTI )

Graft case: Ex-spcl metropolitan magistrate gets bail

Graft case: Ex-spcl metropolitan magistrate gets bail
Graft case: Ex-spcl metropolitan magistrate gets bail

A former special metropolitan magistrate of South Delhi Municipal Corporation, arrested by CBI for allegedly accepting a bribe of Rs 25,000 from a shop owner here, was today granted bail by a Delhi court.

Special CBI judge Vinod Kumar granted bail to R P Bhatia, arrested by CBI on August 18, on a personal bond of Rs 50,000 with one surety of the like amount.

The court rejected the contentions of the agency which had opposed Bhatia’s bail plea on the ground that he might tamper with evidence and win over two key prosecution witnesses who are government servants.

“Both the witnesses are public servants. Therefore, I do not find substance in the apprehension of the prosecution that accused will be able to win over those witnesses. Further, though the charge sheet has been filed but the exhibits from the CFSL will require a long time in being examined.

“Hence, accused, who is already in judicial custody for more than 60 days, cannot be kept indefinitely in jail,” the court said while granting him bail.

CBI had earlier alleged that Bhatia was caught while demanding and accepting Rs 25,000 bribe from complainant Manmohan Jain, a shop owner, and the money was recovered from his bag in the presence of independent witnesses.

The accused had claimed that he was arrested while he was sitting on the dais in his court in the office of Deputy Commissioner, MCD Central Zone Lajpat Nagar here.

Bhatia was arrested in the case lodged under various provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

( Source – PTI )

NGT asks SDMC to control pollution in Lajpat Ngr

NGT asks SDMC to control pollution in Lajpat Ngr
NGT asks SDMC to control pollution in Lajpat Ngr

Coming to rescue of the residents of Lajpat Nagar here, the National Green Tribunal has directed South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) to take immediate steps to control air pollution in an area in the locality.

A bench headed by P Jyothimani, which impleaded SDMC in the case, directed it to file a status report while posting the matter for next hearing on July 22.

The order came while hearing a plea by Kasturba Niketan Complex Social Welfare Association which has sought a direction to restrain the city government and Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB) from using the land in front of the complex for parking purposes as it causes air pollution.

It had also sought a direction to “immediately construct a reinforced cement concrete (RCC) flooring in the entire dust-laden land situated in front of Kasturba Niketan Complex, Lajpat Nagar-II.

The bench said, “We direct the newly impleaded respondent — South Delhi Municipal Corporation — to take immediate steps for the purpose of cleaning the area and ensure that no dust comes out and the air pollution is prevented…”

The green panel had earlier issued notice to the Delhi government and DUSIB against the operation of a parking lot in front of the complex in Lajpat Nagar.

DUSIB is managing the parking, which can accommodate nearly 550 cars, in the area, after the tribunal asked it to arrange a temporary parking space to decongest roads in order to reduce vehicular emission.

SDMC is yet to identify land for building a multi-level parking facility in Lajpat Nagar area.

“The distance between the houses of Kasturba Niketan Complex and parking land is hardly 10 feet and as a result even a slight movement of vehicles causes dust storm.

“Due to the continuous movement of vehicles, there is layer of dust deposited on the outer walls of the houses, which also enters inside the houses causing air pollution,” the plea, filed through advocate D K Sharma, had said.

It has submitted that there are 273 houses in the complex in which more than 4,000 people live and their “lives are in danger as they are forced to inhale dust-laden air”.