o gauge the extent of illegal constructions in the upscale Sainik Farms, Delhi high court wants satellite mapping of the area.
A bench of justices Sanjiv Khanna and Chander Shekhar on Thursday granted more time to the Centre to coordinate with Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and Geological Survey of India to find out how the mapping can be done. The court wants to determine, by way of an exercise, just how widespread the encroachment and unauthorised constructions in the colony, which has been awaiting regularisation tag for long, is.
On the last date of hearing, it directed the standing counsel of AAP government, the central government and the three corporations to “obtain instructions on the question of taking help and assistance of third parties that can provide satellite mapping.”
HC had asked all agencies to “get in touch with ISRO and the Geological Survey of India” while issuing notice to the ministry of science and technology, asking it about the feasibility and the institution that would undertake the mapping.
The court is hearing a bunch of PILs against rampant illegal construction in Sainik Farms and nearby areas. During Thursday’s hearing, there was high drama in the court when the judges said that they had received a complaint, signed by 102 persons, against one of the lead petitioners in the case, Pavit Singh.
While Singh’s lawyers tried to dismiss the complaints as motivated, the bench took a grim view of the allegations and asked the PIL petitioner to file an affidavit explaining his defence.
The bench then sent the case relating to Sainik Farms to the Chief Justice, since all matters relating to illegal constructions in the city are being heard by his bench.
HC has been monitoring efforts by the civic bodies and the cops to check unauthorised constructions in Sainik Farms, even as it has questioned the Centre as to why it is “sitting on the scheme” forwarded by Delhi government for regularising the upscale colony in south Delhi.
Last year, the court had brought in the CBI to begin preliminary probe in the neighbouring Neb Sarai area against officials who permitted illegal construction to go on. It wants to penalise such errant officials. “We want to know the (SDMC) officials involved and we want them to go to jail,” HC had earlier observed, while hearing contempt proceedings for non-compliance of its 2001 order prohibiting any manner of construction or repair work in the colony.
“Just because people of Sainik Farms are rich, why should we differentiate between them and those in Neb Sarai (where CBI is probing unauthorised construction)?” it said, adding, “Why should honest people pay a premium for buying land, while people in Sainik Farms get it for a song? Go and penalise them and collect your money.”
The court is hearing PILs filed by NGO Paardarshita and Pavit Singh alleging illegal construction in Sainik Farms.