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Unauthorised structures: Panel exceeded its power, says Supreme Court

A view of the Supreme Court of India in New Delhi. File   | Photo Credit: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar

The Supreme Court held that its monitoring committee, set up in 2006 to identify unauthorised structures and check misuse of residential properties in Delhi, exceeded its power.

In a 70-page judgment on Friday, a three-judge Bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra said the committee had no authorisation to take action and seal private residential premises not used for commercial purposes in the National Capital.

The Constitution mandates that a person can be deprived of property and right of residence only in the manner prescribed by law, it said.

The judgment was based on a challenge to a report submitted by the committee on the sealing of residential buildings in Vasant Kunj and Rajokari. It said the committee usurped statutory powers. It could also not have directed the demolition of these buildings.

“No doubt encroachment is a matter of concern but the monitoring committee can act within the four corners of powers conferred upon it,” the court said.

It said past orders and documents in connection with the committee shows the latter was set up to take action against unauthorised constructions and encroachments.

“It was never tasked by this court to take action against the residential premises that were not being used for commercial purposes. It was appointed only to check the misuse of residential properties for commercial purposes.” , the court clarified.

It ordered the premises to be de-sealed and returned to the owners within three days.

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

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Printable version | Mar 8, 2021 3:45:14 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/unauthorised-structures-panel-exceeded-its-power-says-supreme-court/article32365347.ece

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