MPISG letter to g, with reference to news report about plans for Sultangarhi scheme, to request compliance of court order of 16.09.02 for inquiry, information of outcome of Public Notice by which 1700 families responded to object and directions against Malls/Park scheme, enclosing letter to CEC

Sub: Request for inquiry into Sultangarhi Scheme as per Hon’ble High Court’s judgment of 16.09.02 in WP 4978/2002 and for directions against it as well as against Malls/Park scheme, also on account of frustrating subsequent judicial, parliamentary and democratic processes

Respected Sir,

Hon’ble High Court has said in its judgment of 16.09.02 in WP 4978/2002 against DDA’s Delhi Master Plan (DMP) violating Sultangarhi Scheme as follows:

This writ petition which is in the nature of a public interest litigation raises a question of far reaching consequences and has wide ramifications. …It is a matter of great concern that a statutory authority which is statutorily to protect and preserve the statutory scheme itself has been violating the provisions of law. Violation of the land rules attracts the penal clause …The said provisions to say the least are also applicable to (DDA) …The submission of Mr.Jaitley, the learned Senior Advocate appearing on behalf of (DDA) is that no public interest would be subserved if we direct stoppage of construction … Public interest in a case of this nature also demands that activities of the statutory authority be directed to confine it within the four corners of law. The statutory authorities cannot be allowed to act de hors the statute. However high you may be the law is higher than you is also applicable to (DDA)… In fact it is a fit case where the Chairman of (DDA) should see to it that how authorities of (DDA) herein were allowed to take such decisions which admittedly are wholly illegal and without jurisdiction. …once such illegalities are permitted the same in our opinion would give further incentive to a statutory authority like (DDA) to perpetuate the same and to indulge in other illegalities.

Hon’ble Court had said “no further constructions should be allowed to be raised” on the site, but work continued as before for over a month (while more than 1700 families filed objections in response to Public Notice of 15.09.02) and sporadically thereafter, with no action on sustained complaints. By 27.01.03, when Public Notice hearing was held with no clarification on questions raised by citizens, a newspaper had also quoted then DDA Chairman as saying no inquiry was needed.

Government’s indifference to the significant judgment and, subsequently, to corruption that CBI exposed at DMP-minding levels did, precisely as Hon’ble Court had anticipated, embolden DDA “to perpetuate the same and to indulge in other illegalities”. Through 2003 its plans for Sultangarhi were reported (and reportedly approved in 2004) and not only did DMP violations continue, veritably abrogating s.41, ‘guidelines’ contrary to DMP were issued to DDA on 27.07.03, making also task of Standing Parliamentary Committee that had invited on 22.06.03 views for examining DDA infructous by obfuscating the DMP framework for examination. Even after Hon’ble Supreme Court observed in judgment of 07.05.04 in WP(C) 4677/1985 that “under the garb of issuing guidelines for the Master Plan for Delhi – 2021, action against violaters of law has come to a standstill for an indefinite period”, DDA continues to be ‘guided’ by them rather than its mandate – in disregard now also of the people’s mandate as acknowledged in National Common Minimum Programme (NCMP) adopted on 27.05.04, President’s address to Parliament (07.06.04) and Prime Minister’s address to the nation (24.06.04).

A graphic case of DDA’s gay abandon is currently playing out near Sultangarhi (its plans for which have been reported yet again, in Dainik Hindustan on 14.07.04) – in its Malls/Park scheme usurping 35 Ha residential land (as per F-Zone Plan of 1998 that already curtailed it from DMP 112 Ha for an illegal hotels’ project that Supreme Court quashed). This scheme, in which Mall plots were auctioned on 15.12.03 for 1100 crores and foundation-stone for Park (featuring prominently in Mall advertisements) was laid by LG and four MPs (including three union ministers) on 21.02.04, involves identical violations (of s.11A and, through violation of CGWA ban on boring, s.6) about which Hon’ble High Court has made its view amply clear in WP 4978/2002 and about which Hon’ble Supreme Court has also opined in its observations on ‘guidelines’ extrapolating the same abandonment of mandate.

Just as it had started demolishing old Rangpuri Pahari for illegal Sultangarhi scheme, DDA declared intent to demolish old Lal Khet for Malls/Park scheme – on 31.05.04, ie, after adoption of NCMP. Just as it ignored citizens’ efforts in pursuit of DMP solution in the area since 2000, it ignored citizens’ requests for Lal Khet’s legal relocation consistent with NCMP / DMP to announce demolition date without formal notice – on 28.06.04, ie, just after committee for making in two weeks ‘slum-free Master Plan’ as per ‘guidelines’ was announced (which has sought, as per reports of 15.07.04, more time).

It ‘answered’ citizens’ request (after citizens averted demolition it scheduled on 02.07.04) with Pushta-like ‘camp’ for receiving plot payments – on 09.07.04, ie, a day after demolishing without notice another settlement in the area. (Only after citizens declined another ‘camp’ on 14.07.04 did it consider other cases and percentage of ‘eligible’ has since increased to 80% from 20% on 02.07.04). Just as it did nothing about complaints against touts in Arjun Camp (demolished in 2003 in sub-judice matter wherein residents have sought lawful relocation, staking claim to proximous janta housing site reportedly occupied by Sahara Restaurant-Bar of DDA scam fame), it did nothing about touts in Lal Khet. Just as it ignored concerns about risk to old government school by Sultangarhi scheme, it ignored concerns about denial of free seats benefit in Vasant Kunj schools to children being sent to Bawana (where children are dying). Just as it did not answer why it was implementing PM direction for HIG flats (its justification for Sultangarhi) and not PM direction for hawkers, it ignored questions about priority to Malls over DMP provisions for informal sector despite assurance to court. Just as they did not care in Sultangarhi (even after the judgment), Police and MoUD have not cared to act on against illegality and impropriety of DDA actions in Malls/Park scheme despite complaint of 02.07.04 in police station against constructions with illegal borings and without mandatory boards, application u/s.41(3) on 05.07.04 and letter with photograph of boring on Mall site on 12.07.04. Other DMP violations in the area and elsewhere and subversions of its processes also continue as before.

The ‘difference’ between Sultangarhi scheme and Malls/Park scheme is that the latter is despite court judgment against the former, despite all other specific issues pending disposal in s.11A responses to Sultangarhi and subsequent Public Notices, court matters against DDA and others and submissions to Standing Parliamentary Committee examining functioning of DDA pursuant to DDA scam, despite Malls/Park scheme being one of various unplanned developments in the area challenged in WP 8523/2003, and despite a decisive Lok Sabha election, NCMP with clear commitments for the common man and weaker sections, President interpreting people’s verdict as one for restoration of rule of law, Prime Minister interpreting NCMP goals in manner consistent with DMP goals, and UPA having solemnly pledged in NCMP to provide a government that is corruption-free, transparent and accountable at all times, an administration that is responsible and responsive at all times.

Last week newspapers have reported that NGOs have petitioned Supreme Court appointed Central Empowered Committee to declare the Malls/Park site protected – ie, to modify DMP in disregard of law and all of the above. We have written to CEC the enclosed letter, but we have not been able to ascertain procedures for petitioning it and apprehend our letter might not suffice.

Therefore we seek again, and with urgency, inquiry into Sultangarhi scheme as per Hon’ble High Court’s judgment in WP 4978/2002 before any development / eviction work for it or for Malls/Park scheme and, indeed, in the area. Please grant us this request which we make also for our DDA – DDA perhaps not as it is but DDA as contemplated in our law, with a statutory mandate that is the synergy purpose of our synergy platform and all our efforts on it. Thanking you,

Yours sincerely

Gita Dewan Verma / MPISG Planner