Being a major center for economic growth, the National Capital Territory of Delhi attracts large number of people from across the country, estimated at about 5 lakh immigrants every year has resulted in a huge growth in demand from housing and commercial space. However, a number of factors such as restricted density norms, slow pace of acquisition and development of land, low supply of built up accommodation and commercial space and inadequate enforcement have resulted in creating a growing gap between demand and supply of both shelter and commercial space.

2. All development in Delhi is governed by the Master Plan notified under the Delhi Development Act, 1957 and provisions of the Unified Building Bye Laws 1983. in order to provide for the needs of the increasing population of Delhi with a perspective of 2021, the Master Plan of Delhi 2001 has been taken up for extensive revision. With the approval of Government, draft Master Plan of Delhi 2021 has been notified by the Delhi Development Authority on 16 th March, 2005. Nearly 7000 suggestions and objections were received from the public and other stake holders and the same are under examination by a Board of Inquiry and Hearing. Finalisation of the Master Plan is likely to take some time. Meanwhile, in various ongoing matters, Hon'ble Courts have issued directions for immediate action against unauthorized construction and misuse of premises including demolition and sealing. Considering the extend and magnitude of the problem, a Committee of experts has been constituted by the Central Government on 14 th February, 2006 to suggest comprehensive strategy to deal with the issue. The recommendations of the Committee shall be considered by Government for policy options and strategy to deal with the matter.

3. The gap in the demand and supply of shelters has also given rise to a large number of unauthorized colonies on both public and private land as well as the growth of slums on public land. It is estimated that there are around 1400 unauthorised colonies in Delhi and over 6 lakhs families living in slums and jhugii-jhompri. The Government had earlier finalized guidelines for regularization of unauthorised colonies existing as on 31 st March, 2002 under certain specific terms and conditions. Based on the representations received in this regard, further revision in the guidelines for regularization of unauthorized colonies is under the consideration of the Central Government.

4. As regards the slum and jhuggi-jhompri existing in Delhi, the Slum and JJ Wing of Municipal Corporation of Delhi and the Delhi Development Authority have been relocating the eligible slum families by providing alternate plots under the current policy for relocation of slum dwellers. In view of the growing scarcity of land in Delhi and in order to counter alleged alienation and speculative transfer of such relocation plots, a revised policy for rehabilitation of slum dwellers in multi-storied tenements as well as through in situ regularization , is under consideration. In the meantime, various orders and directions have been issued by the Hon'ble Courts for removal of slums irrespective of the availability of land for their relocation. It is difficult for the agencies to implement directions of the Courts in a rigid time limit for removal of slums, within the framework of current policy due to non-availability of land. The removal of slum dwellers who are otherwise eligible for relocation under the policy require protection from their displacement pending finalisation of the revised policy.

5. There are also a large number of street vendors in different parts of Delhi. In pursuance to the National Policy of Urban Street Vendors, Court has issued directions to the local bodies to frame specific scheme for street vendors. While the local bodies are formulating schemes in pursuance of the court's directions, it has to be ensured that the schemes are realistic and take into consideration not only the concerns of hawkers and squatters but also citizen's right on the public places. This would also require some time for finalisation.

6. While a large number of persons would be affected by the decisions relating to such unauthorized development, at the same time, there is wide divergence of public opinion and views on the best way to deal with these issues. Thee have to be taken into account while finalizing a comprehensive and balanced strategy, on each of these complex issues. This process would involve ground level survey, collection of requisite data, its analysis, consultation with Residents Societies and Residents Welfare Association by the local bodies. Professional expert organizations may also have to be involved to formulate a sustainable strategy. This will take sometime.

7. Therefore, it has become necessary to take all possible measures for the finalisation of the norms, policy guidelines and feasible strategies in respect of problems relating to the unauthorized development in respect of the mixed land use, construction beyond the sanctioned plans and encroachment by slum dwellers, JJ dwellers, hawkers and street vendors in Delhi within a definite time frame. While this exercise is taken up by Government and its relevant agencies, it has become necessary to maintain status quo in respect of these categories of unauthorized development existing as on the 1 st January, 2006. for this purpose, it is proposed to enact a law to enable the Government to take a balanced and well-considered view on policies involving such unauthorized development so that the development of Delhi takes place in a sustainable and planned manner, and also provide temporary relief to the persons residing or carrying out commercial activities or otherwise dependent upon such unauthorized development, till such time as the policy or strategy is finalized. The Government, therefore, considered it necessary and desirable to make a special law for this purpose for the National Capital Territory of Delhi.

8. In view of the above, it has become necessary in larger public interest to make special provisions providing inter alia for taking of all measures to finalise norms, policy guidelines and strategies in respect of the aforesaid categories of unauthorized developments and for maintenance of status quo for one year from punitive against such unauthorized development, in order to meet the aforesaid objects.

9. The Bill seeks to achieve the above objects.

S. Jaipal Reddy

The Bill has since been challanged in the Supreme Court of India.

July-September 2006