New Delhi: Delhi High Court has directed the DDA and MCD to frame rules to levy charges on squatters for illegal encroachment on the public land.
Justice Rajnish Bhatnagar in a recent order noted that in case of encroachment, the encroacher must be made liable by the land-owning authorities concerned to the extent of the illegal encroachment done.
“The land-owning authorities, that is, the DDA (Delhi Development Authority) and the MCD (Municipal Corporation of Delhi) are directed to devise a mechanism or frame rules so as to levy charges on the encroacher for illegal encroachment on public land…there should be a clear perception through careful quantification of the charges to be recovered from the encroacher that shall be for the benefit of the public at large,” the court directed.
Pointing out that encroachment on public places has become so rampant that it forces people to walk on roads, the court said that encroachments leave road and footpath users in a life-threatening situation by exposing them to vehicles plying on the roads and endangering their lives.
The court noted that to verify the charges to be recovered from the encroacher, the land-owning authorities shall take into consideration factors such as the area of encroached land, period for which the encroached land was illegally used, the market price or circle rate of the encroached area or as the case may be.
The directions came on a plea filed by one Kamlesh Jain, seeking directions to Delhi Police to stop an eatery – `Books and Beans’ from playing loud music. Jain alleged the eatery/cafe was causing trouble and discomfort by playing loud music from morning till midnight and, while it was registered with the authorities, it was using the vacant space as a seating area by keeping chairs and tables.
During the proceedings, the court was informed that the land encroached by the eatery owner belonged to the DDA and the eatery had no right over it and was using it without any authority.
On a court query, the DDA and the MCD counsel said there was no provision for recovery of any user charges or penalty for usage of encroached land or area at the current market price. The court let off the eatery owner with a warning, considering his young age and on an undertaking that he would not repeat his act in the future. It, however, said the Pandav Nagar SHO in east Delhi shall ensure that no loud music is played by Books and Beans cafe or any other restaurants in the area concerned beyond 10 pm.