(Rajinder Singh & Anr v/s UOI & Ors)
On 26.04.06 a joint venture of DLF Universal and Indiabulls won with bid of 450 crores 14.3 Hectares of land for private-participation / slum-rehousing pilot-project at Tehkhand in South Delhi. Writ petitions CWP 6824-25/2006 (Rajinder Singh & Anr v/s UOI & Ors) assailing the land use change and legality of consequent auction amounting to implementation of MPD-2021 proposals prior to notification were filed in Delhi High Court on 24.04.06. Excerpts are being posted in public domain.
- Opening Sheet
- Urgent Application
- Memo of Parties
- Synopsis and List of Dates
- Civil Writ Petition under Article 226 of the Constitution of India alongwith affidavits in support
- Annexure-P/1 colly:
- a. Public Notice dt 31.08.05 for land use change at Tehkhand
- b. Typed copy of response dated 28.09.05 by Petitioner no.2
- Annexure-P/2 colly:
- a. Typed copy of judgment dt 25.11.05 in WP(C) 8237/2005
- b. Typed copy of order dt 12.11.02 in WP(C) 5007 & 5009/02
- c. Typed copy news item published in Asian Age dt 11.09.05
- Annexure-P/3 colly:
- a. Typed copy of letter dt 31.03.06 from MoUD to Petitioner no.1
- b. Typed copy of letter dt 7.04.06 from GNCTD to Petitioner no.2
- c. Typed copy of land use change Notification dated 23.02.06
- Annexure-P/4: Typed copy of excerpts from the Delhi Development Master Plan and Zonal Development Plan Rules, 1959
- Annexure-P/5: Advertisement dated 20.03.06 for auction of site of Tehkhand pilot project reproduced from DDA website
- Annexure-P/6 colly:
- a. Copy of Public Notice dated 10.03.09
- b. Typed copy of response dt 06.04.06 by Petitioner no.2
- c. Typed copy of response dt 07.04.06 by Petitioner no.1
- d. Typed copy of response dt 07.04.06 by Mrs Prabha Chand
- e. Typed Copy of Application dt 17.04.06 by Petitioner no.1
Synopsis and List of Dates
The Petitioners are residents, respectively, of a 50-year old
slum settlement (Rangpuri Pahari Malakpur Kohi) and a 15-year old and continuing residential development adjoining it (Vasant Kunj). They have been making efforts since 2000 to secure, for solution to their problems relating to persistence of slums in the area, implementation of the mandatory low-income housing provisions of Delhi Master Plan (MPD-2001). In this regard they have also filed objections/suggestions in response to statutory Public Notices for proposals to modify MPD-2001 to allow multi-storied slum re-housing in general and in
pilot-project at Tehkhand, for which auction was advertised on 20.03.06. From information received by the Petitioners under Right to Information (RTI) since then, it is apparent that the project / policy does not have requisite approvals. In particular, Notification dated 23.02.06 for change of MPD-2001 land use in F-Zone from
District Park to
Residential at Tehkhand is vitiated and liable to be quashed and, consequently, the project and auction advertised on 20.03.06 declared illegal.
- 08.04.2005: The Authority of DDA issued 90-day Public Notice to invite objections/suggestions on draft MPD 2021 with proposals, inter alia, for slum re-housing in multi-storied tenements
- 04.07.2005: Petitioner no.1 filed, with inputs from Petitioner no.2, detailed objections / suggestions on Shelter chapter of MPD 2021 including proposal for multi-storied slum re-housing.
- 04.07.2005: Urban Development Ministry gave "in principle approval" to DDA to take up a "pilot project" of multi-storied slum re-housing at Tehkhand on a site earmarked District Park in Master Plan and Zonal Development Plan for F-Zone.
- 05.07.2005: Final hearings commenced in this Hon'ble Court in WP(C) 5007 & 5009/2002, writ petitions by residents of a JJ cluster in Vasant Kunj evicted without re-housing or with re-housing in contravention of MPD-2001. In these, fact of Tehkhand pilot-project was suppressed in affidavits about F-Zone.
- 31.08.2005: The Authority of the DDA published 30-day Public Notice to invite objections / suggestions on a proposal to change land use from District Park to Residential at Tehkhand.
- 28.09.2005: Petitioner no.2 filed objections in response to Public Notice dated 31.08.05 in respect of land use change at Tehkhand.
- 07.09.2005: MoUD Secretary assured, in an affidavit before the Hon'ble Supreme Court, Tehkhand project - for Pushta re-housing.
- 25.11.2005: In its judgment in WP(C) 8237-56/2005, writ petitions for re-housing Kalkaji slums at Tehkhand, this Hon'ble Court noted the stand of the DDA that site is not for slum relocation and directed that Lt Governor decide the relocation site.
- 28.12.2005: Petitioner no.2 made requests under RTI to MoUD about affidavit filed by Secretary in Hon'ble Supreme Court and to Lt Governor's Secretariat about compliance of this Hon'ble Court's direction dated 25.11.05 about Tehkhand site.
- 15.02.2005: Press reported imminent clearance of a builder project at Tehkhand and Petitioner no.2 wrote to the Secretary of the Authority of the DDA for information about disposal of her response to Public Notice dated 31.08.05.
- 23.02.2006: MoUD issued Notification for land use change at Tehkhand.
- 10.03.2006: The Authority of the DDA published 30-day Public Notice to invite objections / suggestions on a proposal to change land use in riverbed zone to Residential for slum resettlement.
- 20.03.2006: The Authority of DDA advertised auction of Tehkhand site for a project of 3500 slum re-housing and 750 premium flats.
- 31.03.2006: On an RTI request by Petitioner no.1, MoUD volunteered vague information about Tehkhand project, but mentioned no approval beyond "in principle approval" on 04.07.05.
- 06.04.2006: Petitioner no.2 filed objections/suggestions on Public Notice dated 10.03.06, with specific reference to the Advertisement dated 20.03.06 and Public Notice dated 31.08.06.
- 07.04.2006: Petitioner no.1 filed objections/suggestions on Public Notice dated 10.03.06, with specific reference to the Advertisement dated 20.03.06 and MPD-2021 Public Notice. A senior citizen of Vasant Kunj filed accompanying response with reference to her deposition before Lok Sabha Standing Committee on memorandum to, inter alia, object to proposal of slum pilot-project in, besides Tehkhand, Vasant Kunj
- 07.04.2006: In purported reply to an RTI request of Petitioner no.2 Delhi Govt informed that policy of multi-storied slum re-housing is under consideration of central govt.
- 17.04.2006: Petitioner no.1 made to MoUD an application under section 41(3) of the Act apropos legality and propriety of decisions relating to Tehkhand project in view of (and with First Appeal about) the RTI reply dated 31.03.06.
- 20.04.2006: In part reply to an RTI request made to DDA in respect of various Public Notices, Petitioner no.1 was provided copies of some notifications, including the one dated 23.02.06 for Tehkhand that suggests the project does not have approvals
- 24.04.2006: Petitioner no.1 visited the offices of MoUD to ascertain if his application under section 41(3) was being considered before auction and was advised to approach DDA land disposal department.
- 24.04.2006: Instant writ petition filed
Main text of the Writ Petition
IN THE HIGH COURT OF DELHI AT NEW DELHI EXTRA ORDINARY CIVIL WRIT JURISDICTION CIVIL WRIT PETITION NO. 6824-25 OF 2006
IN THE MATTER OF
- Rajinder Singh R/O S-171/132, Rangpuri Pahari Malakpur Kohi, New Delhi-110037
- Gita Dewan Verma R/O 1356, D-I Vasant Kunj, New Delhi-110070
- Union of India - Ministry of Urban Development, Government of India, Through Secretary, Sh Anil Baijal, Nirman Bhawan, N Delhi-110011
- Government of NCT of Delhi, Through Chief Secretary, Delhi Secretariat, Players' building, IP Estate, N Delhi-110002
- Municipal Corporation of Delhi, Through Commissioner, Town Hall, Chandni Chowk, Delhi
- Authority of the DDA, Through Chairman (ex-officio Lt Governor), Rajniwas, Delhi-110054
A WRIT PETITION UNDER ARTICLE 226 OF THE CONSTITUTION OF INDIA PRAYING INTER ALIA FOR ISSUANCE OF A WRIT, ORDER OR DIRECTION IN THE NATURE OF CERTIORARI QUASHING THE IMPUGNED NOTIFICATION DATED 23.02.06 OF LAND USE CHANGE AT TEHKHAND, NEW DELHI (ANNEXURE P/3 (C)) AND FOR ISSUANCE OF A WRIT DECLARING THE PROJECT AND AUCTION ADVERTISD ON 20.03.06 (ANNEXURE P/5) AS ILLEGAL AND CONTRARY TO LAW AND FOR ISSUANCE OF A WRIT IN THE NATURE OF MANDAMUS RESTRAINING THE RESPONDENTS FROM IMPLEMENTING PROPOSALS OF DRAFT MASTER PLAN 2021 BEFORE ITS APPROVAL AND NOTIFICATION BY DUE PROCESS INCLUSIVE OF DISPOSAL OF THE PETITIONERS' DULY MADE OBJECTIONS/SUGGESTIONS AND REPRESENTATIONS
The Hon'ble The Chief Justice and His Lordship's Companion Judges of the Hon'ble High Court of Delhi at New Delhi
The petition of the Petitioners above named MOST RESPECTFULLY SHOWETH:
- That the Petitioner no.1 is a resident since birth of Rangpuri Pahari Malakpur Kohi, a more than 50-years old low-income
slumsettlement at the southern fringe of Delhi. Petitioner no.2 is a qualified Planner residing in Vasant Kunj, a residential scheme being developed for approximately 15 years by Delhi Development Authority (
DDA) in the area adjoining the settlement of Petitioner no.1. The Petitioners have made since 2000 several representations, including objections / suggestions in response to Public Notices issued under s.11A of Delhi Development Act, 1957 (
Act), for solving their problems relating to, and protection of their rights being infringed by, persistence of slums in the area. They have consistently sought in these implementation of mandatory Delhi Master Plan (
MPD-2001) provisions for low-income housing - viz, minimum 25 sq m plots with facilities and secure tenure, integrated in all residential development to extent of 25% in each community of 100,000 people - and for integration of existing settlements in new development. They have also objected therein to alternative
policyapproaches that offer inferior solutions for the area and/or the Zone (ie, Zone
Funder MPD-2001 / Act).
- That Respondent no.1, Ministry of Urban Development (
MoUD), has overall responsibility of the Act and MPD-2001. Respondent no.2, Govt of NCT Delhi (
GNCTD), does not have control over land development and planning but takes slum initiatives and has been promoting since 2002 alternative approach for slum re-housing in one-room multi-storied tenements. Respondent no.3, Municipal Corporation of Delhi (
MCD), has a Slum Wing through which GNCTD undertakes slum interventions. Respondent No.4 is the Authority of the DDA, created by the Act for sole mandate of development according to plan, ie, MPD-2001 and its Zonal Development Plans. Respondents 1, 2 & 3 are duly represented on the said Authority, which is chaired by the Lt Governor ex officio.
- That statutory provisions of the Act and mandatory provisions of MPD-2001 cast upon each of the Respondents responsibilities for development according to plan. However, instead of MPD-2001 solutions, they have been implementing so-called slum policy of slum-like slum resettlement in puny plots in large layouts in outlying areas on license basis - in violation of MPD-2001 minimum standards for plot sizes and facilities and provisions for integration and tenure. Simultaneously, as
betteralternative to illegal resettlement policy, the Respondents have been promoting an approach of multi-storied one-room tenements in builder / cooperative flats - which is contrary to MPD-2001 stipulation of incrementally build-able plots for the poor and disregards its targets and land allocations for low income housing. The latter, in turn, is illegal in terms of the land policy by which land has been acquired for key objective of housing the poor according to MPD.
- That in draft Master Plan for Delhi 2021 (
MPD-2021) the MPD-2001 provisions for housing for the poor are proposed to be substituted with
alternative approachof slum re-housing in multi-storied tenements. Petitioner no.1, with technical inputs from Petitioner no.2, had responded in detail on this and other proposals in the Shelter chapter of draft MPD-2021 in response to Public Notice published on 08.04.05 to invite objections / suggestions. On 31.08.05 - ie, after 90-day period for filing objections / suggestions on draft MPD-2021 and before hearings had begun - Respondent No.4 (on which Respondents 1 to 3 are duly represented) published Public Notice inviting objections / suggestions on proposal for land use change from District Park to Residential at Tehkhand in F-Zone (in which Vasant Kunj also lies), where pilot-project of multi-storied slum re-housing was proposed since 2003. True typed copies of public notice dt 31.08.05 for land use change at Tehkhand and of response dated 28.09.05 thereto by Petitioner no.2 are annexed herewith as ANNEXURE-P/1 colly.
- That in the duration of said Public Notice dated 31.08.05, MoUD Secretary, Sh Anil Baijal, reportedly filed an affidavit before Hon'ble Supreme Court on 07.09.05 assuring start of Tehkhand project for re-housing from Yamuna Pushta. It is pertinent that in an affidavit filed in September 2003 in WP(C) 5007 & 5009/2002 (Bansraj & Ors v/s DDA and Jagdish & Ors v/s DDA), Sh Anil Baijal, as then DDA Vice Chairman, had submitted that low-income housing had not been developed according to Plan in Vasant Kunj because the same had been developed elsewhere in F-Zone, whereupon this Hon'ble Court had directed in order dated 12.11.2003 as under:
- "Even assuming that Zone F has to be considered as a whole, the DDA is bound to provide specific details of the LIG/Janta flats constructed in the said Zone... In my view the DDA must set out as to how much LIG/Janta housing has been constructed, is earmarked for construction or as to be proposed to be constructed as well as time schedule thereof by referring to Zone F... I think it appropriate to direct that the Director (Land Management) shall be personally responsible for necessary coordination to file this affidavit and appropriate consultation will be held including with the Vice-Chairman, DDA in view of the important and largest issue involved in the present petition..."
- The fact of Tehkhand project was suppressed in the counter-affidavit filed pursuant to said order dated 12.11.03 as well as in the course of final hearings during 05.07.05 and 09.12.05. Further, also in WP(C) 8237-56/2005 (Bhumiheen Camp & Ors v/s DDA & Ors), in judgment dated 25.11.05 this Hon'ble Court noted about the Tehkhand site the stand of authorities at variance from the one reportedly taken by Sh Anil Baijal in affidavit of September 2005 before the Hon'ble Supreme Court, viz:
- "4. ...qua the land at Tehkand it is stated by DDA, (the stand I may note is in conformity with the Slum and JJ Wing, MCD) that the site at Tehkand has been decided to be utilized for housing and not for slum relocation".
- A true typed copy of judgment dt 25.11.05 in WP(C) 8237/2005, typed copy of order dt 12.11.02 in WP(C) 5007 & 5009/02 and typed copy news item published in Asian Age dt 11.09.05 are annexed herewith as ANNEXURE-P/2 colly. The Petitioners seek leave to place before the court if required the said counter-affidavits by / in consultation with Sh Anil Baijal in WP(C) 5007 & 5009/2002.
- That in aforesaid judgment dated 25.11.06 this Hon'ble Court had directed that relocation site be decided by Lt Governor, whereupon Petitioner no.2 made a representation to Lt Governor, ex officio DDA Chairman, for disposal of her response to Public Notice dated 31.08.05. On 28.12.05 she also made requests under Right to Information (
RTI) Act to MoUD and LG Secretariat for information about, respectively, affidavit filed before Hon'ble Supreme Court and status of compliance of this Hon'ble Court's direction dated 25.11.05. On 15.02.06 she requested information about disposal of Public Notice dated 31.08.06 with reference to news report of imminent clearance of Tehkhand project. She has not received the requested information. On the other hand, the Petitioners received in purported or part replies to other RTI requests, the following information about Tehkhand project / policy:
- (a) Petitioner no.1 received, on a request dated 20.03.06 to MoUD, a letter dated 31.03.03 referring to "in principle approval" given on 04.07.05 to DDA to take up Tehkhand pilot-project;
- (b) Petitioner no.2 received, (after Appeal) on request dated 30.01.06 to GNCTD about projects announced by Minister / Chief Minister in the press, letter dated 07.04.06 saying policy of slum relocation in multi-storied one-room tenements is "under consideration of the GOI";
- (c) Petitioner no.1 received, (after First and Second Appeals) on urgent RTI request dated 21.04.06 about a number of Public Notices, a letter from DDA on 18.04.06 offering against further fee copies of five notifications, which he collected on 20.04.06. These include notification dated 23.02.06 arising from Public Notice dated 31.08.05 for Tehkhand.
- True typed copies of RTI replies dated 31.03.06 from MoUD and 07.04.06 from GNCTD and said Notification dated 23.02.06 are annexed herewith as ANNEXURE-P/3 colly.
- That the said Notification dated 23.02.06, copy of which was furnished to Petitioner no.2 on 20.04.06, only modifies MPD-2001 land use of the site from District Park to Residential as per the proposal in Public Notice dated 31.08.05. It does not even mention either number of objections / suggestions or particulars of the Board that considered them, as is usual in s.11A notifications. The Notification is also vitiated since Petitioner no.2 was not given hearing on her objections in response to Public Notice dated 31.08.05 - apparently since a Board for Enquiry and Hearing could not have been constituted for considering objections/suggestions in respect of a project whose enabling policy was subject of objections / suggestions, such as of Petitioner no.1, being considered by the Board for MPD-2021. Petitioner no.1 has also not been given hearing. It is submitted that hearing by a duly constituted Board is mandatory under Delhi Development Master Plan and Zonal Development Rules, 1959. A true typed copy of excerpts from the said Rules is annexed herewith as ANNEXURE-P/4.
- That, meanwhile, Respondent no.4 (on which Respondents nos 1 to 3 are duly represented) had published on its website advertisement dated 20.03.06 for "Auction of prime residential land at Tehkhand in South Delhi" for "DDA's first Public-Private Participation Project" with "750 premium residential flats, to be sold by the private real estate Developer on 'free sale basis'" and "3,500 Resettlement Houses for the economically weaker sections of society of 28 sq.m. each (super area) as per DDA specifications". True typed copy of advertisement dated 20.03.06 is annexed herewith as ANNEXURE-P/5.
- That the Petitioners expressed reservations about Advertisement dated 20.03.06 in responses dated 06 & 07.04.06 to another Public Notice published on 10.03.06 (for proposal to change land use for slum resettlement). In response dated 06.04.06 Petitioner no.2 specifically sought with urgency information about disposal of her response to Public Notice dated 31.08.05. In his response dated 07.04.06 Petitioner no.1 recalled the origin of Tehkhand project in announcement in July 2003 of three such projects, including in Tehkhand and Vasant Kunj, and reiterated prior request for hearing of MPD-2021 response. Another Vasant Kunj resident, senior citizen Mrs Prabha Chand, filed an accompanying response with that of Petitioner no.1 with reference to her deposition in May 2005 before Lok Sabha Standing Committee on joint memorandum submitted in July 2003 to, inter alia, object to the pilot-projects' announcement. In addition to these Public Notice responses, addressed to Secretary of the Authority with copies to others among the Respondents, Petitioner no.2 made to MoUD - with First Appeal against RTI reply dated 31.03.03 - an application under s.41(3) of the Act to examine legality and propriety of specific aspects of Tehkhand project. In this Application dated 17.04.06 he specifically urged consideration prior to the auction. Typed copies of the said objections/ suggestions dated 06 & 07.04.06 and application dated 17.04.06 are annexed as ANNEXURE-P/6 colly.
- That, as submitted, Notification dated 23.02.06 for land use change for Tehkhand project is vitiated by procedural lapses. The Notification in itself, in any event, does not allow the Tehkhand project as it does not indicate any modification / relaxation of land policy to allow auction or of MPD-2001 provisions / development controls to allow multi-storied slum re-housing. No other approval for these modifications / relaxations has been disclosed to the Petitioners under RTI. To the best of the Petitioners' knowledge draft MPD-2021 or its proposed policy for slum re-housing has also not been notified. On the contrary, afore-said letters dated 31.03.06 and 07.04.06 received, respectively, by Petitioner no.1 from MoUD and Petitioner no.2 from GNCTD, clearly convey that the policy proposal is still under consideration. The Petitioners have not been granted mandatory hearing on duly filed objections / suggestions. Their prayers, in view of imminent auction, for urgent information and hearing and consideration, made in ambit of, respectively, RTI Act and section 11A and section 41(3) of Delhi Development Act have been denied. Even copy of Notification dated 23.02.06 was furnished only on 20.04.06, after which the Petitioner no.1 called, and on Monday 24.04.06 visited, MoUD to enquire about the outcome of his urgent Application under s.41(3), all to no avail.
- That the Respondents are advancing a patently illegal project to
pilot, in F-Zone in which the Petitioners reside and work, an objectionable policy for which
pilot projectwas announced also for the specific locality in which the Petitioners reside. The Petitioners have exhausted remedies available to them for accountability and are approaching this Hon'ble court for redress relying on the following among other Grounds.
G R O U N D S
- A. Because Rule-8 of Delhi Development Master Plan and Zonal Development Plan Rules, 1959, stipulates disposal of Public Notice responses by a duly constituted Board whereas Notification dated 23.02.06 merely claims careful consideration by central government: and makes no reference to mandatory Board;
- B. Because Petitioner no.2, a planner, was not given hearing on her duly filed objections/suggestions even as Rule-9 of the said Rules stipulates personal hearing and proviso thereto provides for disallowing hearing only if the Board "is of the opinion that the objection or suggestion... is inconsequential, trivial or irrelevant";
- C. Because Rule-9 of said Rules contemplates also enquiry by the Board in respect of duly filed objections/suggestions and Petitioner no.2 has not received information about disposal of her response in these terms, despite resort to RTI prior to the notification;
- D. Because Board for Enquiry and Hearing was apparently not constituted for Public Notice dated 31.08.05, as such Board could apparently not have been constituted, as Public Notice was issued for a project whose enabling policy was itself under consideration at the time by a Board for Enquiry and Hearing for draft Master Plan 2021 Public Notice that has yet to hear Petitioner no.1;
- E. Because the land use change notified, viz, from District Park to Residential, is impermissible in terms of MPD-2001 and the Act, as set out in the objections filed in response to the Public Notice dated 31.08.05 by Petitioner no.2 (ANNEXURE-P/1 (b));
- F. Because the Notification dated 23.02.06 issued by MoUD Delhi Division claims careful consideration of all aspects of the matter, whereas RTI reply dated 31.03.06 from the same office mentions only "in principle approval" and RTI reply dated 07.04.06 from GNCTD says the policy itself is "under consideration".
- G. Because the claim of careful-consideration of
all aspects of the matteris belied by the fact that the Petitioners have not been given hearing on their objections / suggestions according to Rules;
- H. Because the careful-consideration claim is belied also by failure to revert on specific points of apparent conflict with, inter alia, matters before the Hon'ble courts highlighted by Petitioner no.1 in his application under section 41(3) (ANNEXURE-P/6 (e));
- I. Because mutually inconsistent and conflicting stands apropos the Tehkhand site and project have been taken by the respondents in various court matters, as instanced in para-5 above;
- J. Because the Respondents' indifference to the Petitioners' resort to s.11A and s.41(3), besides RTI Act, is persistent and tantamount to willful avoidance of accountability;
- K. Because of the objections set out in response of Petitioner no.2 to Public Notice dated 31.08.05 for proposal to change land use at Tehkhand (ANNEXURE-P/1 (b)) and conflicts set out in application dated 17.04.06 by Petitioner no.1 (ANNEXURE-P/6 (e)), not being repeated here for sake of brevity.
- 12. The Petitioners have has not filed any other similar Petition before this Hon'ble Court or before any other Court of law praying for the same relief.
P R A Y E R
It is therefore most respectfully prayed that this Hon'ble Court may be pleased to:
- (a) issue a Writ, Order or Direction in the nature of certiorari quashing the impugned Notification dated 23.02.06 of land use change at Village Tehkhand (Annexure P/3 (c)); and
- (b) issue a Writ, Order or Direction declaring the Tehkhand project and auction advertised on 20.03.06 (Annexure P/5) as illegal and contrary to law; and
- (c) issue a Writ, Order or Direction in the nature of mandamus restraining the Respondents from implementing proposals of draft MPD-2021 before its approval and notification by due process inclusive of disposal of the Petitioners duly made objections/ suggestions and representations; and
- (d) pass such other order(s) as deemed fit by this Hon'ble Court in the facts and circumstances of the case.
AND FOR THIS ACT OF KINDNESS, THE PETITIONER SHALL, AS IN DUTY BOUND, EVER PRAY.
DRAWN & FILED BY:
(ANUPAM LAL DAS) Counsel for the Petitioners...
NEW DELHI, DATED: 24 .04.2006