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Allowing 65 appeals, the CIC expressed distress over the fact that organized illegal constructions are being undertaken in the capital, apparently with the collusion of MCD and perhaps other official bodies. This is the 38th in a series of important judgements given by former Central Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi that can be used or quoted in an RTI application
The Central Information Commission (CIC), while admitting that it does not have the power to enforce the rule of law, said it hopes that all arms of governance would take actions to ensure that illegal activities (constructions) are brought to a stop immediately. While giving this important judgement, Shailesh Gandhi, former Central Information Commissioner, said citizens have to come forward to enforce the sovereignty and the rule of law as official agencies have no interest in upholding the rule of law.
Allowing 65 appeals filed by the applicant, the CIC in its order issued on 30 September 2009, said,“...hopes that the commissioner of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) would take cognizance of this and demonstrate that MCD does mean to uphold the rule of law rather than collaborate with criminals.”
Delhi resident Rajender Gupta sought information from Superintending Engineer (SE), MCD about approval for building plans on 65 sites in Shahadara, South Zone. He had also sought information on whether any complaints had been received about the ongoing construction at the sites identified by him, and whether any action had been proposed or was being undertaken. He had sought information with respect to the following sites which fall within the jurisdiction of the SE I, Shahdara South Zone:
1. 17/90 Geeta Colony, Delhi
2. A-64, Radheshyam Park Ext., Delhi
3. X-3741, Gali no. 7, Shanti Mohalla, Gandhi Nagar, Delhi
4. 12/128 Geeta Colony, Delhi
5. 13/397 Near Shastri Park, Geeta Colony, Delhi
6. 13/133 Geeta Colony, Delhi
7. 7/47 Geeta Colony, Delhi
8. 12 Radheshyam Park, Delhi
9. 35 Radheshyam Park, Delhi
10. X-306 Chand Mohalla, Gandhi Nagar, Delhi
11. Opposite X-923, New Chand Mohalla, Gandhi Nagar, Delhi
12. Opposite X/3469, Gali no. 12, New Jain Market, Shanti Mohalla, Delhi
13. X-4028, Shanti Mohalla, Gandhi Nagar, Delhi
14. 62 Radhe Puri Ext.-2 Main Road, Delhi
15. 639 (Opposite 637A) Gururam Das Pur, Delhi
16. A-14, Radhe Puri Ext-2, Delhi
17. Adjacent to 118/1, Gali no. 5, Kishankunj, Delhi
18. 13/2 Radhe Puri Ext.-2, Delhi
19. A-22, Gali no. 6, Jagat Puri, Delhi
20. R-8, Ramesh Park, Luxmi Nagar, Delhi
21. B-19, Guru Ram Das Nagar, Indra Market, Delhi
22. A-7/39, Lal Quarter, Krishna Nagar, Delhi
23. R-4, Ramesh Park, Luxmi Nagar, Delhi
24. R-9, Ramesh Park, Luxmi Nagar, Delhi
25. 805, Guru Ram Das Ext., Luxmi Nagar, Delhi
26. A-90, Gali no. 6, Jagat Puri, Delhi
27. F-60, Jagat Puri, Delhi
28. R-7, Ramesh Park, Luxmi Nagar, Delhi
29. R-3, Ramesh Park, Luxmi Nagar, Delhi
30. 14, Radhe Puri Ext-2, Delhi
31. 4/1422, Shalimar Park, Bholanath Nagar, Delhi
32. F-79, Main Road, Jagat Puri, Delhi
33. G-16/C, Radhe Puri, Krishna Nagar, Delhi
34. G-19, Radhe Puri, Delhi
35. 804, Guru Ram Das Ext, Luxmi Nagar, Delhi
36. Above ¼ Lal Quarter, Krishna nagar, Delhi
37. Adjacent to R-7/1, Ramesh Park, Luxmi Nagar, Delhi
38. Adjacent to A-7/42, Lal Quarter, Krishna Nagar, Delhi
39. Adjacent to G-19, Radhe Puri, Delhi
40. Adjacent to C-55, Purana Govind Pura, Delhi
41. Adjacent to B-47A, Jitar Nagar, Parwana Road, Delhi
42. Opposite H-83, Jagat Puri, Delhi
43. Adjacent to D-103/4, South Anarkali, Delhi
44. Adjacent to X-919, Chand Mohalla, Gandhi Nagar, Delhi
45. Adjacent to A-26, New Brijpuri, Delhi
46. Adjacent to 46B, Gali no. 4, Purana Govind Pura Ext. , Delhi
47. Opposite B-23, Gali no. 10, New Brijpuri, Delhi
48. Adjacent to 10/118 Geeta Colony, Delhi
49. Opposite 33, Purani Geeta Colony, Delhi
50. Adjacent to 64/1, South Anarkali, Delhi
51. Opposite 3/9, Geeta Colony, Delhi
52. Adjacent to 2/66, Geeta Colony, Delhi
53. Opposite 180-181, South Anarkali, Delhi
54. Opposite B-1/1, South Anarkali, Delhi
55. Opposite A-6, Jitar Nagar, Parwana Road, Delhi
56. Opposite A-1, Sarojini Nagar, Geeta Colony, Delhi
57. Adjacent to A-118, Aram Park, Shastri Nagar, Geeta Colony, Delhi
58. X/3994, Shanti Mohalla, Gandhi Nagar, Delhi
59. 1347 Subhash Road, Gandhi Nagar, Delhi
60. X-3625, Main Road, Shanti Mohalla, Gandhi Nagar, Delhi
61. 1556 Main Road, Gandhi Nagar, Delhi
62. X-3625, Gali no.-5, Shanti Mohalla, Gandhi Nagar, Delhi
63. Adjacent to A-88, Gali no.6, Jagat Puri , Delhi
64. 7/91 (B-27), Gali no.-7, Main Road beginning from Panchsheel Gali, Delhi
65. 27/113 Gali no.-6, Main Road, Vishwas Nagar, Delhi
In his reply, the Public Information Officer (PIO) stated that there was no information on record in the office and that action will be taken on unauthorized construction as per the rules. In some cases the PIO stated that he could not give information as the site had not been properly identified by the appellant.
Since the information received was either at variance with the ground realities, or no response was given, the Gupta then filed a first appeal in all the cases. He did not receive a satisfactory response from the First Appellant Authority (FAA) and he then approached the Commission with 65 Second Appeals.
As all the appeals concerned a similar subject matter, the Commission decided to dispose these Appeals together through a common order.
Mr Gandhi, the CIC, after registering all the 65 appeals, decided to conduct an enquiry in the matter under Section 18(2) of the Right to Information (RTI) Act. The inspection report revealed that unauthorized construction was either in progress or had been recently completed on most of the properties inspected in Shahadara South Zone, Delhi. Some of the properties were buildings of four and five storeys and the people there confirmed that the construction had been undertaken in the last six months. The Commission then directed the PIO to submit a reply before 22 September 2009.
After a survey of the properties, the PIO in his submission, acknowledged the illegal construction activities at the sites. In the amended reply, the PIO admitted that admitted that construction work was being undertaken in the different properties cited by the appellant and that no map had been passed by the MCD’s Building Department and no permission had been given to the construction. He further admitted that the complaint has been received regarding the unauthorized construction but no action has been taken.
During a hearing, the PIO admitted that 65 buildings have come up where no plans were approved. “Out of these 65, only four or five properties have been booked as unauthorized construction. The persons responsible to book the unauthorized construction are the Junior Engineers—Manoj Shah and Manish Kr Gupta. While Manoj Shah is employed on contract, Manish Kr Gupta is an employee of the MCD,” the PIO stated.
Mr Gandhi noted that from what was being described, it appeared that even these 65 unauthorised constructions were unlikely to be ‘booked’ for over a year. He asked the PIO if these unauthorized constructions are likely to be demolished.
The PIO who was the Superintending Engineer, very conveniently stated that he does not know what happens and that only the junior-most staff of MCD has any knowledge of what is happening. The SE stated that the demolition action is taken up depending on the whim and will of the junior staff. The PIO stated that he writes a number of letters to the Executive Engineer (B) and no action is taken.
Expressing distress, the Commission noted that organized illegal constructions are being undertaken in the capital apparently with the collusion of MCD and perhaps other official bodies. Mr Gandhi said, "This is a case where a citizen has taken the initiative to bring to light illegal practices of a very large nature before the authorities. However, in the last few months it is apparent that the MCD officials were interested only in covering up those indulging in illegal building construction.”
“The information that 65 illegal buildings have come up in a single zone has been exposed through a citizen’s use of right to information. In other RTI Applications, he (Gupta) has been given evidence of another 54 illegal buildings and he claims to have brought to the notice of the authorities another 90 buildings. A clear modus operandi which emerges in this case is that an illegal building is constructed in three to six months and during this period neither any cognizance of any complaint is taken nor any information provided under the Right to Information Act. After the whole building is constructed it is probably claimed that this is an old building and needs to be regularized,” the CIC noted in its order.
Mr Gandhi then allowed all 65 appeals. Finding PIO Ram Prakash and the APIO OP Vimal, guilty of not supplying complete, required information within 30 days, the Commission issued a show-cause notice to both.
CENTRAL INFORMATION COMMISSION
Decision No. CIC/SG/A/2009/002120-002131, 002133-002185/4986
Appeal No. CIC/SG/A/2009/002120-002131, 002133-002185
Appellant : Rajender Gupta
Respondent : Superintending Eng. I & PIO
Municipal Corporation of Delhi
Shahadara South Zone Delhi