When this Court did not appoint the Monitoring Committee concerning each and every residential building on private land not misused for commercial purposes and to deal with the same, the merits of the other submissions, whether the premises are authorized or unauthorized, can be regularized or not, compounding can be done, or whether there is any deviation made. The report of the Monitoring Committee and findings recorded by it are of no use as it had no such authority to go into the various questions.We quash Report No.149 and other reports submitted subsequently in connection with Report No.149 and entire action of sealing pursuant thereto. We also quash notices issued directing demolition where the matter was being heard by this Court and the Monitoring Committee had no power to look into the matter and to take any action. Let the property sealed as per 70 Report No.149 be de­sealed, and possession be restored to the owners forthwith. Let this order be complied with within three days.

1
REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL ORIGINAL/ APPELLATE JURISDICTION
WRIT PETITION (CIVIL) NO.4677 OF 1985
M.C. MEHTA ..PETITIONER
VERSUS
UNION OF INDIA & ORS. ..RESPONDENT(S)
WITH
WRIT PETITION (CIVIL) NO.266 OF 2006
WRIT PETITION (CIVIL) NO.263 OF 2006
WRIT PETITION (CIVIL) NO.264 OF 2006
WRIT PETITION (CIVIL) NO.450 OF 2006
WRIT PETITION (CIVIL) NO.464 OF 2006
WRIT PETITION (CIVIL) NO.470 OF 2006
WRIT PETITION (CIVIL) NO.569 OF 2006
WRIT PETITION (CIVIL) NO.563 OF 2006
WRIT PETITION (CIVIL) NO.610 OF 2006
WRIT PETITION (CIVIL) NO.212 OF 2008
WRIT PETITION (CIVIL) NO.229 OF 2008
WRIT PETITION (CIVIL) NO.144 OF 2009
AND
2
SPECIAL LEAVE PETITION (C) NO.33454 OF 2018
J U D G M E N T
ARUN MISHRA, J.
IN RE: ISSUE RELATING TO JURISDICTION OF THE MONITORING
COMMITTEE

  1. We are dealing with the authority of the “Monitoring Committee to seal
    the residential premises on the private land” particularly when they are not
    being used for the “commercial purpose”. Whether the Monitoring Committee
    could have sealed these residential premises is the only question which we
    are examining in this order.
  2. Report No.149 dated 2.4.2019 submitted by the Monitoring Committee
    concerning specific unauthorized constructions allegedly carried out in the
    Vasant Kunj and Rajokari area. These constructions were not on public
    land. The respective persons owned the land, and the Committee had
    submitted that a letter was received from the SDM, Mehrauli on 22.2.2019
    regarding unauthorized construction in Vasant Kunj, Delhi.
  3. A reply was filed on behalf of the residents that various residential
    premises were sealed where constructions were made long back. There was
    no authority with the Monitoring Committee to seal purely residential
    premises. It was pointed out that their structure was in consonance with
    3
    the Master Plan (MPD­2021) within Low Density Residential Area (LDRA)
    modified vide Notification No.S.O.1199 (E) dated 10.5.2013 and Notification
    No.S.O.1744 (E) dated 18.6.2013. Reliance was placed on the various
    bylaws/statutory provisions. It was submitted that the Monitoring
    Committee was not authorized to take action, and the residential premises
    should be de­sealed. It was also pointed out that compounding has been
    made in some cases. The structure should not be demolished, given the
    provisions of the applicable acts, by­laws, and policy. It has to be regularized
    for which prayer was pending before concerned authorities.
  4. It was further contended that it is a residential area, farmhouses were
    notified as Low­Density Residential Areas, and the premises were used as
    residential premises. They are in accord with MPD­2021. “Mehrauli” is an
    urbanized village. The Monitoring Committee was not empowered to seal the
    premises used for residential purposes. It was permissible to raise the
    construction for the use of a residence as provided under Clause 4.4.3 G of
    MPD­2021. Reliance has also been placed on NDRA Policy.
  5. We have heard Shri Ranjit Kumar, Ms. Anitha Shenoy and Shri A.D.N.
    Rao, learned Amicus Curiae, Shri Rakesh Khanna, Shri Siddharth Luthra,
    Shri Mukul Rohatgi, Shri R.C. Mishra, Shri Nalin Kohli, Shri Wasim A.
    Qadri, Shri Sanjiv Sen, learned senior counsel, Shri Tushar Mehta, learned
    Solicitor General, Ms. Aishwarya Bhati, learned Addl. Solicitor General, Shri
    D.N. Goburdhan, Shri Naveen Kumar, Ms. Karuna Nundy, learned counsel
    and other learned counsel appearing for the parties.
    4
  6. Shri Ranjit Kumar, learned Amicus Curiae with his usual vigour
    urged that Writ Petition (C) No.4677 of 1985 was filed in this Court regarding
    environment in Delhi, shifting of heavy industries, noxious industries,
    stopping of all mining in Aravali hills in and around Delhi including
    demolition of colonies built on forest land, misuse of premises (misuse
    includes unauthorized construction), i.e., construction without sanction,
    lack of civic amenities and the need for their upgradation, etc. This Court
    appointed the Monitoring Committee in the year 2006. Various orders have
    been referred to submit that the Monitoring Committee is entitled to inspect
    premises in which any illegal construction has been made. This Court
    restored its power on 6.12.2017. A Special Task Force was set up to ensure
    that the order of the court and applicable bylaws were implemented. LDRA
    Policy in derogation of the MPD­2021 is notified on 7.2.2007.
  7. Learned Amicus attracted the attention of this Court to orders dated
    24.4.2018, 8.5.2018, 15.5.2018, 18.5.2018, 24.5.2018, and various other
    orders and certain reports, which we will refer later. He has pointed out that
    the Special Task Force was constituted on 25.4.2018. The Monitoring
    Committee has the power to seal unauthorized construction, and
    regularization thereof cannot be allowed. He has attracted the attention of
    this Court to the O.M. dated 23.5.2018 issued by the Government of India
    containing an action plan for monitoring of all construction activities in
    Delhi and fixing responsibility in case of violations of MPD­2021 for
    unauthorized encroachments and other illegal construction activities.
  8. Learned Amicus Curiae also argued that the Monitoring Committee is
    5
    authorized to see construction with sanction plan or construction contrary to
    sanction plan. Alternatively, it was submitted by the learned Amicus that in
    case this Court comes to the conclusion that the Monitoring Committee was
    not entrusted with the power concerning residential premises when they
    were not being used for “commercial purpose” as the power of sealing was
    exercised (as per Report No.149) bonafidely on the request made by the SDM
    and any order, which may be passed and ordered to be prospective in
    operation.
  9. Ms. Ashwariya Bhati, learned Additional Solicitor General appearing
    on behalf of the Ministry of Housing and Environment submitted that the
    Monitoring Committee is entitled to inspect the premises where
    encroachments are there on public land. Attention has been invited to this
    Court’s order dated 3.1.2012, which was recalled vide judgment and order
    dated 15.12.2017. This Court on 15.12.2017 ordered the Monitoring
    Committee to continue to work as it was doing before 3.1.2012. This Court
    constituted the Monitoring Committee on 23.4.2006 for the limited purpose
    of addressing the use of “residential premises for commercial purpose”.
    Despite the limited mandate to the Monitoring Committee, it illegally sealed
    other premises. A Special Task Force has been constituted as per order
    dated 24.4.2018 to remove the encroachments on public roads, public
    streets, and pedestrian street, and it was for the Monitoring Committee to
    suggest to the Special Task Force the areas where immediate action was
    required to be taken concerning aforesaid aspect. The Special Task Force
    was constituted under section 5(3) of the Delhi Development Act, 1957.
    6
    Thus, it is a statutory body. It has the task of overseeing the
    implementation of the applicable laws regarding illegal constructions,
    encroachment on public land, public parks, parking places, roads,
    pavements, etc. Special Task Force is taking adequate action as and when a
    violation is reported.
  10. Shri D.N. Goburdhan, learned counsel appearing on behalf of the
    Government of NCT of Delhi, has raised the following arguments:
    a. That the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act, 1957 (for short, “the DMC
    Act”) is a complete code by itself. The Delhi Municipal Corporation is a
    statutory body which cannot be deprived of its functions. He has also
    attracted the attention of this Court to the Building Regulations and to
    sections 334 and 335 of the DMC Act relating to sanctions, additions,
    alterations, and its power to take action in appropriate cases. He submitted
    that the DMC Act is a complete code by itself as it provides how the sealing
    is to be done, when it is to be enforced, and in case of its failure, the remedy
    is provided under section 490. Statutory appeals are provided under the
    DMC Act to the Appellate Tribunal and the Administrator. A complete
    regulatory mechanism is provided for the sealing operation of properties.
    Thus, it cannot be deprived to exercise its powers conferred by the
    Monitoring Committee under the DMC Act.
    b. This Court appointed the Monitoring Committee on 16.2.2006 only to
    prevent misuse of residential premises for commercial use and not with
    respect to residential premises used for residential purposes. Once the
    Monitoring Committee does the sealing, no statutory appeal lies before the
    7
    Appellate Tribunal constituted under section 347(A) and 347(B) of the Act.
    The Statutory Appeals were transferred to the Monitoring Committee, which
    ordered the sealing of the premises. The principle of natural justice was thus
    thrown to winds. The order appointing the Monitoring Committee was for
    limited purpose and power was passed under Article 142 of the Constitution.
    The order too deserves to be recalled in view of the decisions of this Court in
    A.R Antulay vs. R.S. Nayak & Anr. (1988) 2 SCC 602, Bonkya vs. State of
    Maharashtra (1995) 6 SCC 447, Prem Chand Garg v. Executing Commissioner
    U.P., AIR 1963 SC 996 and SCBA vs. Union of India (1998) 4 SCC 409.
    c. That the executive, legislative and judicial functions of the statutory
    bodies are demarcated under the Constitution, and statutory provisions
    cannot be taken away by the Monitoring Committee. Reliance is placed on
    Arif Hameed v. State of J & K, (1989) Supp. [2] SCC 364.
    d. The legislature has conferred statutory power to seal or demolish on
    the Municipal Corporation, and Monitoring Committee cannot exercise its
    power in total abrogation to the powers of the statutory bodies.
  11. Shri Rakesh Khanna, learned senior counsel appearing on behalf of
    the LAC’s Federation of Delhi, submitted that this Court on 15.12.2017
    passed judgment and order with respect to sealing of the residential
    premises used for commercial purposes in Delhi. The Monitoring Committee
    has exercised power unauthorizedly. The orders were passed in order to
    stop the unauthorized commercial use of the land earmarked for residential
    purposes, as provided in the Zonal Plan. The Monitoring Committee without
    8
    power sealed the premises, which were in the commercial area for
    commercial use. He has attracted our attention to certain provisions of the
    Master Plan. Concerning the aforesaid aspects, we do not propose to deal
    with it in the instant order. We propose to deal only with the limited
    question whether the Monitoring Committee is empowered by this Court to
    seal the residential premises. We leave the question of commercial plots
    raised by Shri Khanna to be dealt with separately.
  12. Shri Khanna further argued that the Monitoring Committee had no
    power to seal purely residential premises. He has attracted our attention to
    this Court’s order by which it was constituted, and various other judgments
    and orders passed in this regard. He has argued that the Monitoring
    Committee kept quiet, pursuant to the query made by this Court on
    7.5.2019 as to whether in past, before Report No.149 was submitted, the
    Monitoring Committee sealed the residential premises which were not being
    used for commercial purposes. No past instance was given by the
    Monitoring Committee regarding sealing of residential premises used for
    residential purposes, particularly when it was not made on public land. He
    has also argued with respect to LDRA Policy and as to permissible
    regularization.
  13. Shri Nalin Kohli, learned senior counsel has taken this Court through
    various orders passed by this Court and the Report of the Monitoring
    Committee to submit that this Court appointed the Monitoring Committee
    for the limited purpose of checking commercial misuse of the residential
    properties. At no point in time, this Court authorized the Monitoring
    9
    Committee to seal the residential premises used for the residential purposes
    that too situated on private land. Thus, the action of sealing such houses is
    unwarranted and illegal.
  14. Shri Naveen Kumar, learned counsel, has invited our attention to the
    order dated 7.5.2019. This Court sought the Monitoring Committee to
    specify with respect to its power conferred by the court and secondly, any
    prior example where the Monitoring Committee sealed such premises. The
    Monitoring Committee referred to the orders dated 23.11.2006, 12.2.2007,
    9.3.2007, and 10.4.2007 to justify its action. It was argued that the orders
    relied upon by the Committee are not at all relevant for sealing of such
    premises. The Monitoring Committee was appointed only to prevent
    commercial misuse of the residential properties. The subsequent orders
    indicate that it was authorized to deal with the encroachment and
    unauthorized colonies on public land.
  15. On behalf of the incumbents whose property has been sealed as per
    the report No.149, similar submissions have been raised. The Monitoring
    Committee was given limited powers, which was divested on 30.4.2012.
    Later vide order dated 6.12.2017, the Monitoring Committee was restored
    with the power it exercised earlier. A Special Task Force had been
    constituted on 25.4.2018 pursuant to the order passed by this Court.
  16. Ms. Karuna Nundy, learned counsel, argued that under Article 300­A
    of the Constitution, a person cannot be deprived of its property otherwise
    than the due procedure of law, is supported by series of judgments of this
    10
    Court. When the Monitoring Committee is not empowered to deal with such
    residential premises, it could not have acted. The detailed procedure is
    provided under the DMC Act along with the Appellate Tribunal under
    sections 347A and 347B of the DMC Act. The Monitoring Committee, unless
    specifically authorized by this Court, could not violate the procedure under
    the DMC Act. Reliance has been placed by the learned counsel on the
    various decisions to be referred to later.
    (i) Particularly when the Monitoring Committee is not empowered to take
    any such action, no appeal lies against the action of the Monitoring
    Committee. Only it hears a representation. Not even the High Court can
    interfere in the functioning of the Monitoring Committee.
    (ii) Even with respect to the encroachment on public roads, public streets,
    and pedestrian streets, the Special Task Force is authorized to take action.
    Thus, the Monitoring Committee’s power after the constitution of Special
    Task Force is further restricted, and it is for the Monitoring Committee to
    suggest to the Special Task Force with respect to the encroachment on the
    public land, roads, and public places.
    (iii) The range of remedies available to the owner of the property in the
    residential premises’ occupation cannot be deprived of by the Monitoring
    Committee. The provisions regarding demolition and stoppage of buildings
    and works in certain cases are contained in section 343 of the DMC Act,
    section 345 deals with power of the Commissioner to require alteration of the
    work; section 347A provides for an appeal before the Appellate Tribunal,
    section 347B deals with appeals against certain orders and notices issued
    11
    under the Act and section 347E deals with the bar of jurisdiction of courts.
    Once the statutory right is conferred, it cannot be dealt with by the
    Monitoring Committee until and unless it is authorized.
    DISCUSSION:
  17. The Monitoring Committee was appointed and empowered by this
    Court to take action within the powers conferred. In the teeth of various
    statutes, it would act strictly within the four corners of the powers conferred
    on it by this Court.
  18. When we consider the various orders passed by this Court from time
    to time, before the constitution of the Monitoring Committee, we find that
    this Court at no point in time has empowered the Monitoring Committee to
    take action with respect to residential premises not used for commercial
    purpose. This Court initially passed an order on 7.5.2004 and constituted
    the Monitoring Committee comprising of (i) Chief Secretary of Delhi, (ii)
    Commissioner of Police, Delhi, (iii) Commissioner, Municipal Corporation of
    Delhi and (iv) Vice­Chairman of Delhi Development Authority. It was ordered
    that Monitoring Committee would be responsible for the stoppage of illegal
    industrial activities. The order dated 7.5.2004 is extracted hereunder:
    “Hon’ble Mr. Justice Y.K. Sabharwal pronounced the
    judgment of the Court issuing directions in terms of the signed
    judgment.
    A Monitoring Committee comprising (i) Chief Secretary
    of Delhi (ii) Commissioner of Police, Delhi (iii) Commissioner,
    Municipal Corporation of Delhi and, (iv) Vice-Chairman of
    Delhi Development Authority has been appointed. This
    Committee would be responsible for stoppage of illegal
    industrial activity. It would, however, be open to the aforesaid
    members of the Monitoring Committee to appoint responsible
    officers subordinate to them to oversee and ensure compliance of
    12
    the directions contained in the judgment.
    The first Progress Report by the Committee shall be filed
    by 31st August, 2004 and thereafter it shall be filed at least once
    in a period of every two months.”
  19. (i) The Monitoring Committee was constituted by this Court vide
    judgment and order dated 16.2.2006 in M.C. Mehta v. Union of India & Ors,
    (2006) 3 SCC 399. Following is the relevant portion:
    “1. In respect of large number of immovable properties
    throughout Delhi, flagrant violations of various laws including
    municipal laws, master plan and other plans besides
    environmental laws have been engaging the attention of this
    Court for number of years. With a view to secure the
    implementation of laws and protect fundamental rights of the
    citizens, various orders were passed from time to time.
  20. This Court has a constitutional duty to protect the fundamental
    rights of Indian citizens. What happens when violators and/or
    abettors of the violations are those, who have been entrusted by
    law with a duty to protect these rights? The task becomes
    difficult and also requires urgent intervention by court so that the
    rule of law is preserved and people may not lose faith in it,
    finding violations at the hands of supposed implementers. The
    problem is not of the absence of law, but of its implementation.
  21. Considering such large-scale flagrant violations, this Court
    had to prioritise as to which violations may be taken up first and
    then issue appropriate directions. In this view, at first instance,
    directions were issued in respect of shifting of hazardous and
    noxious industries out of Delhi. Directions were also issued for
    shifting of heavy and large industries as also some extensive
    industries. For shifting polluting industries had to be given
    topmost priority. Later, directions were issued for shifting of
    other extensive industries considering the continued
    unauthorised use contrary to master plan and zonal plan, by
    those industries as well as some other industries continuing in
    residential/non-conforming areas.
  22. With regard to commercial use of premises in residential
    areas, it has been more than three years i.e. 30-9-2002 when the
    order was made directing respondents to file reply. In fact, the
    question of misuse of residential premises for commercial
    purposes was taken up even earlier as is apparent from the orders
    dated 31-7-2001 and 20-2-2002. By order dated 31-7-2001
    13
    passed in News Item AQFMY v. Central Pollution Control
    Board1
    the Court directed that:
    “MCD will also inform this Court in the affidavit to be
    filed as to why no requisite action has been taken for
    stopping the gross misuse of buildings in the residential
    areas for commercial purposes and in the construction of
    commercial buildings in residential areas where only
    residential usage is permitted.”
  23. Again on 20-2-2002, the order dated 31-7-2001 was reiterated
    in the following terms:
    “MCD is also directed to file within four weeks from
    today an affidavit indicating as to what it intends to do for
    stopping the misuse of the buildings in the residential areas
    which are being used for commercial purposes as has been
    directed by this Court’s order dated 31-7-2001. If no
    affidavit is filed, the explanation in respect thereof should
    be given to the Court by the Municipal Commissioner.”
  24. By the impugned judgment dated 31-5-2002, disposing of the
    aforenoted writ petition and other connected matters, a Full
    Bench of the High Court came to the conclusion that neither
    under the DMC Act nor under the Delhi Development Act, was
    there any power to seal property for its misuse, inter alia, holding
    that the power of sealing of premises is drastic as by reason of
    such sealing, a person could become homeless, thus, affecting
    his human or fundamental rights and that the power of sealing in
    relation to misuse has been intentionally excluded from the
    provisions of the two Acts. Later, some other matters were also
    decided by the High Court following the Full Bench decision.
    Those judgments are also under challenge.”
    (emphasis supplied)
    Following questions were framed by this Court for consideration:
    “13. The questions to be determined are:
    A. Whether MCD under the DMC Act has power to seal the
    premises in case of its misuser?
    B. Whether DDA, under the Delhi Development Act, has
    also similar power of sealing or not?
    C. Directions to be issued in respect of residential
    properties used illegally for commercial purposes.
  25. In these matters, we are considering only the issue of
    misuser. We are not considering the issue of unauthorised
    constructions.”
    1 W.P. No.725 of 1994 dated 31-7-2001
    14
    (emphasis supplied)
    (ii) It is apparent that the only question for consideration of this Court
    was the misuse of the residential premises for illegal or commercial
    purposes. In paragraph 14 (quoted above), this Court made it clear that it
    did not consider the issue of unauthorized constructions. This Court
    considered the plight of the residential areas in para 33 of the judgment,
    where it noted large­scale conversion of residential premises for commercial
    use, thus:
    “33. Keeping future needs in view, experts prepare master plans.
    Perusal of the Delhi Master Plans, 1962 and 2001 shows what
    were plan projections. At the time of planning, the experts in the
    field of town planning take into account various aspects, such as,
    healthy living, environment, lung space need, land use intensity,
    areas where the residential houses are to be built and where the
    commercial buildings are to be located, need of household
    industries, etc. Provision for household industries in residential
    areas does not mean converting residential houses into
    commercial shops. It only means permitting activities of
    household industry in a part of a residential property. It does not
    mean that residential properties can be used for commercial and
    trading activities and sale and purchase of goods. Master plan
    contemplates shops in district centres, community centres, local
    shopping centres, etc. and not in residential areas. Be that as it
    may, for the present, we are not considering the cases of small
    shops opened in residential houses for catering to day-to-day
    basic needs, but are considering large-scale conversion, in
    flagrant violation of laws, of residential premises for commercial
    use.”
    (emphasis supplied)
    (iii) The court further considered that none has the right, human or
    fundamental, to violate the law with immunity and claim any right to use a
    building for a purpose other than authorized, thus:
    “35. In the impugned judgment, while dealing with the
    provisions of the layout plan, it was observed that the provisions
    for user “are only regulatory in nature”. While dealing with the
    15
    user, the High Court observed that “the power, whereby and
    whereunder the basic human rights or the fundamental rights
    conferred upon a person is taken away, must be specifically
    conferred by a statute”. The provisions of user may be regulatory
    but all the same, they are mandatory and binding. In fact, almost
    all the planning provisions are regulatory. The violations of the
    regulatory provisions on massive scale can result in plans
    becoming merely scraps of paper. That is the ground reality in
    the capital of the country. None has any right, human or
    fundamental, to violate the law with immunity and claim any
    right to use a building for a purpose other than authorised.
    Further, the words “unless the context otherwise requires” in
    Section 331 of the DMC Act are of no consequence for
    determining the point in issue as the context herein does not
    provide otherwise for the present purposes. It does not provide
    that the power of sealing under Section 345-A cannot be
    exercised in case of misuser. In view of the clear language of
    Section 345-A, we are also unable to sustain the view of the
    High Court that action under Section 345-A can be taken only
    when there exists order of demolition under Section 343 or an
    order under sub-section (1) of Section 344. The conclusion of the
    High Court that action under Section 345-A can be taken only
    when there exists an order of demolition under Section 343, or
    on passing of an order under sub-section (1) of Section 344, and
    in no other contingency cannot be accepted in view of the clear
    provision of Section 345-A that action can be taken even before
    or after an order is made under those provisions.”
    (emphasis supplied)
    (iv) The court eventually issued directions in respect of other residential
    properties used illegally for commercial purposes, thus:
    “47. In special leave petitions and Civil Appeals Nos.608-11 of
    2003 challenge is to the judgments of the High Court disposing
    of writ petitions in terms of law laid down by the Full Bench.
  26. In respect of CA No.608 of 2003, MCD issued to the
    respondents, a show-cause notice dated 1-8-2000 under Section
    345-A read with Sections 347, 343 and 344 of the DMC Act
    stating that Property No. 39, Ring Road, Lajpat Nagar III was
    being misused in the name and style of “Jagdish Store”. In reply
    dated 15-9-2000, it was, inter alia, stated that MCD itself has
    been allowing non-residential activities in residential areas under
    a special scheme, without, however, giving any details or filing
    any document in support thereof. Further, we asked the learned
    counsel for the respondents to place on record the plan for the
    construction of the building which may have been sanctioned so
    16
    as to ascertain whether the sanction was for construction of the
    residential property or commercial property. The plan has not
    been filed. The reasons are not far to seek. One of the simple
    methods for ascertaining that there is misuser or not, is to
    examine the sanctioned plan.
  27. At this stage, it would be useful to notice letter dated 28-8-
    2000 sent by the Ministry of Urban Development to the
    Commissioner, MCD, Vice-Chairman, DDA and other
    authorities conveying the deep concern of Parliament
    Consultative Committee over the rising menace of unauthorised
    construction, suspected connivance of the staff of the different
    authorities in the matter and requesting the authorities to take
    strong and prompt action and suggesting ten measures for strict
    enforcement. The letter reads as under:
    “Annexure R-1
    No. J-13036/3/96-DDIIB
    Government of India
    Ministry of Urban Development and Poverty Alleviation,
    Nirman Bhawan, New Delhi.
    Dated: 28-8-2000
    To,
  28. Shri P.S. Bhatnagar,
    Chief Secretary,
    Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi,
    Delhi.
  29. Shri P.K. Ghosh,
    Vice-Chairman,
    Delhi Development Authority,
    Vikas Sadan, INA, New Delhi.
  30. Shri S.P. Aggarwal,
    Commissioner, Municipal Corporation of Delhi,
    Town Hall, Delhi.
  31. Shri B.P. Misra,
    Chairperson,
    New Delhi Municipal Committee,
    Palika Kendra, New Delhi.
  32. The Development Commissioner,
    Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi,
    Town Hall, New Delhi.
    Subject: Unauthorised encroachment and illegal constructions in
    Delhi
    Sir,
    17
    I am directed to say that the menace of illegal
    encroachment/unauthorised construction in Delhi has been
    considered by the Government of India at its highest level and it
    has been decided to eliminate this menace with a firm hand. You
    are, therefore, requested to take strong and prompt action against
    all illegal constructions/unauthorised encroachments and also
    against misuses of land in violation of the provisions of the
    master plan of Delhi. The following measures are particularly
    required to be enforced strictly:
    (i) All illegal constructions should be demolished, not
    cosmetically but in toto.
    (ii) The cost of demolition should be recovered from the
    illegal builders within 15 days of demolition. In case of
    non-payment within 15 days, the amount due should be
    recovered as arrears of land revenue.
    (iii) In all cases of illegal constructions, prosecution
    should invariably be launched against builders under the
    Delhi Municipal Corporation Act, the Delhi Development
    Act, the New Delhi Municipal Council Act, etc. and the
    cases followed vigorously with the police
    authorities/courts.
    (iv) Wherever the property is on lease, action should be
    taken under the terms and conditions of lease agreement
    and re-entry effected within the shortest permissible period
    under such lease agreement. After re-entry, physical
    possession of the property should be taken by invoking the
    provisions of the Public Premises Eviction Act and
    damages collected immediately. The rates of
    damages/misuse charges should be the same as per the
    formula followed by the L&DO and approved by the
    Ministry of Urban Development.
    (v) In case of DDA flats, where constructions have
    come up beyond the condonable limits, cancellation of
    allotment should be carried out in addition to the
    demolition of the additional construction. Orders in respect
    of condonable and non-condonable items are being issued
    separately.
    (vi) In cases, where after demolition, reconstruction is
    done, personal responsibility of the officer-in-charge should
    be fixed and departmental action taken against him.
    (vii) In cases where illegal constructions have taken
    place on rural agricultural lands, action under the
    provisions of the Delhi Land Reforms Act, 1954, should
    also be taken and such lands should be taken over as per
    provisions of the Delhi Land Reforms Act. Action in this
    respect should be taken as soon as the plots are cut by the
    18
    colonisers and construction done in the shape of boundary
    walls, etc. In other words, construction should be nipped in
    the bud. If it comes up, it should be demolished
    immediately. Action in this respect should also be taken by
    the local agencies concerned/DDA as per the bye-laws
    pertaining to layout/service plans, etc.
    (viii) In all cases where party obtains stay/status quo
    orders, prompt action to get the stay order vacated should
    be taken and higher court moved, wherever necessary.
    (ix) All Senior Field Officers should be asked to carry
    out physical inspection of the area under their charge and
    the Supervising Officer should also make surprise checks to
    ensure that the subordinate staff takes immediate action to
    check/demolish unauthorised construction. Deterrent action
    should also be taken against the subordinate staff such as
    Building Inspectors, Junior Engineers, Assistant Engineers,
    etc. who do not take prompt action.
    (x) Field Officers should be asked to maintain field
    diaries and submit them to the Supervisory Officer
    regularly.
  33. It is also requested that a monthly report should be sent to the
    Ministry of Urban Development by the 5th of each succeeding
    month.
  34. In this connection, it may be noted that both Parliament and
    the Parliament Consultative Committee have expressed deep
    concern, through questions and interpolations, over the rising
    menace of unauthorised constructions in Delhi and the suspected
    connivance of the staff of the different authorities in the matter.
    A flying squad has been constituted in the Ministry and if, as a
    result of findings of this squad, it is found that the subordinate
    staff has not done its duty or not carried out the aforesaid
    instructions, strict action against the subordinate/supervisory
    staff would be taken by the Government.
    Yours faithfully,
    Sd./-
    (Dr. Nivedita P. Haran)
    Joint Secretary to the Government of India
    Copy for information and necessary action to:
  35. Deputy CVO, Ministry of UD&PA,
    Nirman Bhawan, New Delhi.
  36. L&DO, Ministry of UD&PA, Nirman Bhawan, New Delhi.
  37. DG(W), CPWD, Nirman Bhawan, New Delhi.
    Sd/-
    (N.L. Upadhyay)
    19
  38. Now, we revert to the task of implementation. Despite its
    difficulty, this Court cannot remain a mute spectator when the
    violations also affect the environment and healthy living of lawabiders. The enormity of the problem which, to a great extent, is
    the doing of the authorities themselves, does not mean that a
    beginning should not be made to set things right. If the entire
    misuser cannot be stopped at one point of time because of its
    extensive nature, then it has to be stopped in a phased manner,
    beginning with major violators. There has to be a will to do it.
    We have hereinbefore noted in brief the orders made in the last
    so many years but it seems the same has had no effect on the
    authorities. The things cannot be permitted to go on in this
    manner forever. On one hand, various laws are enacted, master
    plans are prepared by expert planners, provision is made in the
    plans also to tackle the problem of existing unauthorised
    constructions and misusers and, on the other hand, such illegal
    activities go on unabated openly under the gaze of everyone,
    without having any respect and regard for law and other citizens.
    We have noticed above the complaints of some of the residents
    in respect of such illegalities. For the last number of years even
    the High Court has been expressing similar anguish in the orders
    made in large number of cases. We may briefly notice some of
    those orders.”
    (emphasis supplied)
    (v) The court focused on the misuse of the property and further observed
    in para 61 regarding misuse thus:
    “61. Despite passing of the laws and repeated orders of the High
    Court and this Court, the enforcement of the laws and the
    implementations of the orders are utterly lacking. If the laws are
    not enforced and the orders of the courts to enforce and
    implement the laws are ignored, the result can only be total
    lawlessness. It is, therefore, necessary to also identify and take
    appropriate action against officers responsible for this state of
    affairs. Such blatant misuse of properties at large-scale cannot
    take place without connivance of the officers concerned. It is
    also a source of corruption. Therefore, action is also necessary to
    check corruption, nepotism and total apathy towards the rights of
    the citizens. Those who own the properties that are misused have
    also implied responsibility towards the hardship, inconvenience,
    suffering caused to the residents of the locality and injuries to
    third parties. It is, therefore, not only the question of stopping the
    misuser but also making the owners at default accountable for
    the injuries caused to others. Similar would also be the
    20
    accountability of errant officers as well since, prima facie, such
    large-scale misuser, in violation of laws, cannot take place
    without the active connivance of the officers. It would be for the
    officers to show what effective steps were taken to stop the
    misuser.”
    (vi) Ultimately, the court has passed the following order while appointing
    the Monitoring Committee:
    “69. Having held that the Commissioner of MCD has power
    under the DMC Act to seal premises in case of its misuser, we
    issue the following directions for taking immediate steps to seal
    residential premises being used for commercial purpose:
  39. MCD shall within 10 days give wide publicity in the
    leading newspapers directing major violations on main roads
    (some instances of such violators and roads have been noted
    hereinbefore) to stop misuser on their own, within the period of
    30 days.
  40. It shall be the responsibility of the owner/occupier to file
    within 30 days an affidavit with the Commissioner of MCD
    stating that the misuser has been stopped.
  41. In case misuser is not stopped, sealing of the premises shall
    commence after 30 days, from the date of public notice, first
    taking up the violations on roads which are 80 ft wide and more.
    All authorities are directed to render full assistance and
    cooperation. After expiry of 30 days from the date of public
    notice, electricity and water supply shall be disconnected.
  42. Details of the roads and the violations shall also be placed
    on the website by MCD and copies also sent to Resident Welfare
    Associations of the area which should be involved in the process
    of sealing of misuser. The Commissioner of MCD shall file an
    affidavit, within two weeks, in terms of directions contained in
    this judgment, whereafter directions for constitution of the
    monitoring committee would be issued. The sealing would be
    effected by the officers authorised by the Commissioner of MCD
    in consultation with the monitoring committee.
  43. The appropriate directions for action, if any, against the
    officers responsible for the misuse and for payment of
    compensation by them and by violators would be issued after the
    misuser is stopped.
  44. None will tamper with the seals. Any tampering with seal
    will be sternly dealt with. Tampering with seal will include
    opening another entrance for use of premises.
    21
  45. It would be open to the owner/occupier to approach the
    Commissioner for removal of the seal on giving undertaking that
    the premises would be put to only authorised use.
  46. Particulars of cases where violators may have obtained
    orders of stay will be filed in this Court by MCD.
  47. MCD shall file monthly status report as to action taken by
    15th of each month commencing from 10-4-2006.
  48. In case misuser is not stopped in the premises involved in
    the civil appeals and special leave petitions, subject to what is
    stated in this judgment, MCD will take immediate steps to seal
    those premises soon after expiry of 30 days.”
    (emphasis supplied)
    It is clear from the above­mentioned order dated 16.2.2006 in M.C.
    Mehta v. Union of India (supra) that this Court noted unauthorized
    construction but appointed the Monitoring Committee to put a restraint on
    the misuse of the residential premises for the unauthorized/commercial
    purpose. Pursuant to the order dated 16.2.2006, the Monitoring Committee
    was formed on 24.3.2006.
  49. The court again emphasized that its order should be carried out in
    letter and spirit in the case of M.C. Mehta v. Union of India reported in (2006)
    3 SCC 429 passed on 24.3.2006 thus:
    “4. In order to oversee the implementation of the law, namely,
    sealing of offending premises in terms of the letter and spirit of
    this Court’s directions, it is necessary to appoint a Monitoring
    Committee instead of leaving any discretion with the officers of
    MCD. Accordingly, we appoint a Monitoring Committee
    comprising of Mr K.J. Rao, Former Advisor to the Election
    Commissioner, Mr Bhure Lal, Chairman, EPCA and Major
    General (Retd.) Som Jhingan. We direct that all necessary
    facilities shall be supplied by MCD to the members of the
    Monitoring Committee, including the facility of transport,
    secretarial services, honorarium, etc.
  50. IAs Nos.1921, 1922 and 1923 have been filed by three
    associations whereas IAs Nos.1918-19 have been filed by an
    individual business house. The applicant of IA No.1919 has filed
    22
    an affidavit giving an undertaking to this Court to stop the
    misuser within the time granted by this Court. The applications
    filed on behalf of the associations state that in the event of this
    Court granting time, they would ensure that the benefit of time is
    given only to those who file individual affidavit and undertaking
    as per the directions of this Court. In the order dated 16-2-2006,
    the Court has already pointed out the extent, nature and
    magnitude of the contravention of various laws. Be that as it
    may, we grant not only to the applicant associations or their
    members but to others too, time to stop the misuser up to 30-6-
    2006 subject to every individual claiming such benefit filing
    affidavit stating that (1) on or before 30-6-2006, misuser shall be
    stopped and no further extension on any ground whatsoever shall
    be asked for, (2) giving an undertaking to the effect that violation
    of condition of not stopping the misuser by 30-6-2006 would
    subject him/her to the offence of perjury and contempt of court
    for violation of the order of the Court. The benefit will be
    available only to those who file the affidavit with MCD on or
    before 28-3-2006.”
    (emphasis supplied)
    This Court directed to prevent misuse of the property in accordance
    with the previous order to mean that residential premises/ area should not
    be used for commercial purposes. A large number of reports of the
    Monitoring Committee carried ‘Caption’ “REPORT OF THE MONITORING
    COMMITTEE, SEALING OF THE COMMERCIAL ESTABLISHMENTS IN
    RESIDENTIAL PREMISES”.
  51. In Report No.8, the Monitoring Committee reported liquor shops in
    convenient/local shopping centers located in residential areas and other
    professional activities. This Court passed an order on 18.10.2006 regarding
    Report No.8 thus:
    “I.A.No.1983:
    In view of the order passed in I.A.No.1980 above, this
    application stands disposed of.
    Report No.8 of the Monitoring Committee:
    We have perused the 8th report of the Monitoring
    23
    Committee dated 17th October, 2006.
    The recommendation contained in para 1 of the report,
    except last three lines, are accepted. The said three lines read as
    under:
    “In addition, it is presumed by the Monitoring Committee
    that small shops will also be allowed in A & B category of
    colonies as per the Hon’ble Court’s order dated
    29.09.2006.”
    The learned Solicitor General, on instructions, states that
    the Government is not contemplating to allow small shops in
    colonies of category A & B. In this view of the stand, the aforequoted recommendation is not accepted.
    In respect of para 4 of the report relating to the sealing of
    liquor shops in convenient/local shopping centres located in
    residential areas, we find no ground to direct sealing of liquor
    shops. The convenient/local shopping centres are in the
    commercial areas earmarked in residential areas and there does
    not appear to be any legal impediment for the liquor trade to be
    conducted from the said commercial areas. However, the liquor
    trade cannot be permitted to be carried on in mixed land use
    since the first floor onwards are expected to be used for
    residential purposes only and thus liquor trade in such residential
    areas cannot be allowed to be continued. This part of
    recommendation in para 4 of the report is accepted.
    Regarding recommendations 5 and 6 regarding
    professional activities and the basement are concerned, learned
    Solicitor General states that since the matter is under
    consideration of the Government, for the present, the sealing in
    respect thereof may not be continued. Learned counsel further
    states that it will take about six weeks to decide these matters.
    Further, it may be noted that in para 21(v)(e) of our order dated
    29th September, 2006, for illustrative purpose, only four
    professions were mentioned but it is clear that other professions
    are not excluded. The term ‘professionals’ has been made
    inclusive by use of the word ‘including’. In view of the above,
    for the present, sealing need not continue in respect of the
    activities mentioned in para 5 and 6 of the report of the
    Monitoring Committee.
    The recommendation in regard to desealing, contained in
    para 7 of the report, is also accepted.
    The Municipal Corporation of Delhi is directed to file its
    report/response, within four weeks, in regard to what is stated by
    the Monitoring Committee in para 8, namely, large number of
    building basement, lower basement, ground floor + four floors
    having come up in blatant violation of the Building Bye Laws.
    In view of the time having been extended as above, the
    matter, instead of November, 2006, be now listed in February,
    24
    2007.
    The Monitoring Committee is directed to supply copy of
    each of its report to learned Solicitor General and learned
    counsel for the Municipal Corporation of Delhi.”
    (emphasis supplied)
    It is apparent from the report that it was with respect to misuse of the
    residential premises for commercial purpose and unauthorized constructions
    on public land.
  52. On 15.11.2006, this Court exempted ration shops and cycle repair
    shops running in residential premises from sealing. Report No.12 was
    considered with respect to the misuse of residential premises for commercial
    purposes.
  53. This Court passed further order on 23.11.2006, which was also with
    respect to misuse of the premises. Undertakings were filed to the effect that
    they have stopped commercial activities in the residential premises. The
    relevant portion of the order dated 23.11.2006 is extracted hereunder:
    “Subject to what we note hereinafter, persons who have either
    earlier or now have stopped commercial activity in terms of the
    undertakings/ affidavits filed but are covered by the two
    notifications above-noted, having regard to the peculiar facts and
    circumstances, are temporarily relieved of the undertakings and
    placed at par with other covered by Direction No.3 of the order
    dated 29th September, 2006. The conditions stipulated in the said
    Direction No.3 would be applicable to such traders/
    professionals. The present order is in continuation of the orders
    passed on 29th September, 2006, 18th October, 2006, 6th
    November, 2006 and 15th November, 2006.
    However, thirty four establishments mentioned in Annexure
    ‘A’ will not be entitled to above concession. The Monitoring
    Committee can verify ad if they have not ceased commercial
    activity, the premises shall be sealed and it be ensured that
    commercial activity is not carried on by them.

25
In Paragraph (4), it has been noticed that, on a surprise check,
some buildings were noticed on which certain sofas were put on
each floor to give it a residential look even through no one
appears to be living in it and the impression was that though
building was sanctioned only for residential purposes and no
commercial activity was going on but fresh commercial activity
may commence. According to the Municipal Corporation of
Delhi, as noted therein, where commercial activity has not yet
commenced, building can be booked for violation of building
plans. Directions are sought that Municipal Corporation of Delhi
be asked to issue public notice that no commercial activity/ fresh
commercial activity shall be allowed without first getting the
building plans approved and on registration and payment of
conversion and parking charges. Example of one such stretch of
road is mentioned in Paragraph (4) from Mool Chand Hospital
crossing to Ashram Chowk. It is to be made clear that no fresh
commercial activity in building sanctioned for residential
purposes can be allowed and on violation being noticed, it would
be the personal liability of the Deputy Commission of the
concerned zone to take appropriate action. It will also be the
personal liability of the concerned Station House Officer to
inform the concerned officers in the Municipal Corporation of
Delhi. If, despite that, the commercial activity is noticed, these
officers shall have to be held personally liable for the
consequences. Simply booking a building for violation of
building plans on paper has proved to be totally ineffective.
There are thousands of buildings which have been booked by the
Municipal Corporation of Delhi in the las number of years but on
paper only without any action. The Municipal Corporation of
Delhi, as suggested in Paragraph (4), shall issue public notice in
consultation with the Monitoring Committee.”
It is apparent from the order that the report and the order pertained to
misuse of the residential premises for commercial purposes.

  1. The order dated 12.2.2007 was in relation to the stopping of the
    sealing by the Monitoring Committee at the instance of the Municipal
    Corporation of Delhi and the Delhi Development Authority until further
    orders. It was to be operative only concerning those premises covered under
    the MPD­2021 and not for those which were not covered by the Master Plan.
    Following order was passed on 12.2.2007:
    26
    “….In view of this arrangement, the interim order stopping
    sealing by the Monitoring Committee with the assistance of
    MCD and DDA shall remain operative until further orders. This
    order shall be operative only in respect of those premises which
    are covered by the Master Plan, 2021 and not for those which are
    not covered by the Master Plan. ….”
  2. The order dated 9.3.2007 was passed to comply with the order dated
    12.2.2007. Following order was passed by this Court on 9.3.2007:
    “We have perused the Report No.31 of the Monitoring
    Committee. It needs no reiteration that our order dated
    12.2.2007 shall be carried out to its logical end. Needless to say
    all authorities concerned shall ensure compliance of our order.”
    It is apparent from the order dated 9.3.2007 that the order is in
    consonance with the said report, and the report clarifies that it was for
    commercial activities and mixed land use. The Monitoring Committee itself
    sought permission for continuation of sealing of the portion of the
    commercial establishment in the residential areas, which were not covered
    by MPD­2021. Thus, the confusion sought to be created based on MPD2021 is absolutely unjustified. The order dated 10.4.2007 is an interim
    order stopping sealing by the Monitoring Committee. This Court did not
    authorize the Monitoring Committee to seal the residential properties being
    used for residential purposes. The order is of no relevance to decide the
    question of the authority of the Monitoring Committee.
  3. On IA No.22, this Court in its order dated 10.4.2007 considered
    Report No.34, contents of which are placed by following orders:
    “We are shocked to find that in spite of our earlier orders,
    there has been a total sense of non-cooperation exhibited by the
    M.C.D. and the police officials. The report of the Monitoring
    Committee shows that on 03.04.2007, 04.04.2007 and
    27
    09.04.2007, the police authorities did not cooperate in the matter
    of sealing of the unauthorized premises.
    Let the Commissioner of Delhi Police and the concerned area
    Police Officers appear in person on 11.04.2007 before this Court
    and file affidavits indicating as to under what circumstances the
    orders of this Court were not carried out and there was non
    cooperation in the matter of sealing. Similar shall be the position
    so far as the Commissioner, M.C.D. is concerned.
    The matter shall be listed tomorrow, i.e. 11.04.2007 for this
    purpose only.
    These cases shall be listed on 07.05.2007. Before that date,
    learned solicitor General shall indicate the time schedule during
    which the various infrastructural deficiencies pointed out by
    leaned Amicus-Curiae are expected to be taken care of. It needs
    no reiteration that areas which are not covered by the Master
    Plan are not exempted from sealing operations. Only those areas
    and constructions which are prima facie covered by the Master
    Plan, shall be left out of sealing operations.
    Report No.34 of the Monitoring Committee shall be kept in a
    sealed cover.
    Copies of the Monitoring Committee’s said Report shall be
    given only to the learned counsel for M.C.D., Delhi Police and
    learned Solicitor General.
    The Charts submitted by Learned A.C. be kept on record. If
    any person, who has interest in the litigation wants to have a say
    in the matter, that can only be routed through learned AmicusCuriae. The necessary information and materials be given to
    learned Amicus-Curiae.
    The response of the DDA shall also be filed which shall be
    taken on record.”
    Report No.34 was not regarding premises used purely for residential
    purposes.
  4. This Court passed an order on 3.1.2012, which is extracted
    hereunder:
    “After hearing Shri Ranjit Kumar, learned amicus on Report
    No.85 and related issues and considering the submissions made
    by other learned counsel, we deem it proper to hear the main
    matter involving challenge to the validity of the law enacted by
    Parliament and the notifications issued by the Central
    Government.
    List the case on 13.3.2012. It is expected that on that day no
    request will be made for adjournment.
    28
    Till the matter is heard by the Court, the Monitoring
    Committee shall not order further sealing of the premises which
    are under its scrutiny.
    We also direct that no construction, temporary or permanent,
    shall be made on the premises which have been subject matter of
    scrutiny of the Monitoring Committee and no order shall be
    passed by the Government or any authority regularising such
    construction or sanction the change of user.
    The Delhi Development Authority, New Delhi Municipal
    Corporation and Municipal Corporation of Delhi are directed to
    ensure that no encroachment is made on any public land,
    whether belonging to the Government or any public authority.
    They shall also ensure that no illegal construction is made on any
    of the properties which has been subject matter of scrutiny by the
    Monitoring Committee.
    The Monitoring Committee shall be entitled to inspect the
    premises in which any illegal construction may have been made
    after this order or any encroachment on public land or
    regularisation and if necessary, submit report to this Court.
    Any person desirous of getting a copy of any report of the
    Monitoring Committee may make an application to the
    Monitoring committee and the required report be furnished to the
    applicant within a period of ten days on payment of usual
    charges.
    It is also made clear that any party shall be free to file an
    appropriate application before the Monitoring Committee for its
    consideration and appropriate order.
    IA Nos.2518-2521
    Shri M.N. Krishnamani, learned senior counsel appearing for
    the applicants state that in view of the developments which have
    taken place after the last order of the Court, the applications have
    become infructuous and the same may be disposed of as such.
    In view of the statement of learned senior counsel, IA
    Nos.2518-2521 are disposed of as infructuous. We hope and trust
    that the order passed by the Monitoring Committee will be
    implemented at the earliest.”
    (emphasis supplied)
    It was ordered that the Monitoring Committee shall do no further
    sealing of the premises, which are under its scrutiny. No construction,
    temporary or permanent, shall be raised, which is the subject matter of the
    scrutiny of the Monitoring Committee. No order shall be passed by the
    Government or any authority regularizing such construction or sanction the
    29
    user’s change.
  5. The order dated 30.04.2013 was passed regarding the misuse/nonconforming use of the residential premises thus:
    “3. The judgment in regard to the misuse/non-conforming use of
    residential premises, and power to seal premises, arising in IA
    No.22, as also, several appeals filed by the Municipal
    Corporation of Delhi (hereinafter referred to as ’MCD’) which
    arose out of a Full Bench of the Delhi High Court were decided
    by a judgment dated 16.2.2006 and is reported as, “M.C. Mehta
    vs. Union of India, (2006) 3 SCC 399″. It was, inter alia, held
    that the MCD had power to seal the premises for nonconforming user in terms of Section 345 A of the MCD Act, and
    various directions were issued.
  6. These cases relate to the matter of non-conforming user of
    premises, and the orders passed thereon, after the judgment of
    16.2.2006, under the special provisions made by the Parliament
    qua Delhi, the various provisions of the Master Plan which
    according to some of the petitioners were flawed because of the
    non-availability of the physical and social infrastructure.”
    Further, this Court observed with respect to authority or scope of the
    Monitoring Committee and the purpose for which the Monitoring Committee
    was appointed thus:
    “8. (i) We had, as noticed above, by our order dated 24.3.2006,
    appointed the Monitoring Committee for looking into the aspect
    of sealing of premises, which were being put to the nonconforming user. The Monitoring Committee had ordered the
    sealing of those premises. Against which, a large number of the
    applicants have approached the Court (by filing writ petitions
    which were converted into IAs, or by filing IAs) praying for
    desealing. All the said IAs are still pending consideration before
    this Court. We propose to issue appropriate directions in the said
    IAs as well. …”
  7. On 6.12.2017, this Court reserved its orders on IA Nos.93010 and
    93007 of 2017, which were decided on 15.12.2017. In the order dated
    6.12.2007, this Court considered the matter with respect to unauthorized
    colonies, which came up as per reports dated 12.4.2016 and 30.10.2017. It
    was observed in the order that the power of the Monitoring Committee be
    30
    restored. While the order was reserved on the aforesaid date on IA No.93010
    and 93007 of 2017, the relevant portion is extracted:
    “1. Invaders have pillaged Delhi for hundreds of years, but for
    the last couple of decades it is being ravaged by its own citizens
    and officials governing the capital city – we refer to
    unauthorized constructions and misuse of residential premises
    for industrial and other commercial purposes. This Court has
    focussed on these illegal activities in several decisions and has
    issued directions from time to time to try and bring some sanity
    to urban living but to little or no effect. The applications before
    us, the chronology of events and the historical developments
    leading up to these applications has given cause to reflect and
    decide on some of these issues keeping our constitutional
    obligations in mind.
  8. M.C. Mehta, an environmental activist, had already moved
    this Court with an application to find a remedy for the air
    pollution in Delhi in a pending writ petition. Although he sought
    several reliefs, this Court first concentrated on use of residential
    areas for industrial purposes and later, the misuse of residential
    premises for other commercial activities. For the present, we are
    concerned with the misuse of residential premises for other
    commercial activities. These issues first arose when preliminary
    orders were passed by this Court on his application on 30th
    September, 2002 and 19th August, 2003. Thereafter, this Court
    addressed the issue of residential areas being used for industrial
    purposes by a judgment and order dated 7th May, 2004 in M.C.
    Mehta v. Union of India.2
    *** *** ***
  9. Having passed orders on 7th May, 2004 relating to
    unauthorized industrial activity in Delhi and being compelled to
    set up a Monitoring Committee, this Court focused its attention
    on yet another problem facing the citizens of Delhi, namely, that
    of misuse of residential premises for commercial purposes. In the
    decision dated 16th February, 2006 in M.C. Mehta, this Court
    noted in paragraph 53 of the Report that it cannot remain a mute
    spectator when violations of the law affect the environment and
    the healthy living of those who abide by the law. It was stated,
    and the pain and anguish of this Court is quite apparent:
    “Despite its difficulty, this Court cannot remain a
    mute spectator when the violations also affect the
    environment and healthy living of law-abiders. The
    enormity of the problem which, to a great extent, is
    the doing of the authorities themselves, does not mean
    2
    (2004) 6 SCC 588
    31
    that a beginning should not be made to set things
    right. If the entire misuser cannot be stopped at one
    point of time because of its extensive nature, then it
    has to be stopped in a phased manner, beginning with
    major violators. There has to be a will to do it. We
    have hereinbefore noted in brief the orders made in
    the last so many years but it seems the same has had
    no effect on the authorities. The things cannot be
    permitted to go on in this manner forever. On one
    hand, various laws are enacted, master plans are
    prepared by expert planners, provision is made in the
    plans also to tackle the problem of existing
    unauthorised constructions and misusers and, on the
    other hand, such illegal activities go on unabated
    openly under the gaze of everyone, without having
    any respect and regard for law and other citizens.”
    [Emphasis supplied by us].
  10. This Court observed that if the laws are not enforced and
    orders of the Courts to implement the laws are ignored, the result
    can only be total lawlessness. In the decision rendered on 16th
    February, 2006 this Court noted, quite explicitly and not in a
    veiled manner, that blatant misuse of properties in Delhi for
    commercial purposes on such a large-scale could not take place
    without the connivance of the officers and that it was therefore
    necessary to take action to check corruption, nepotism and total
    apathy towards the rights of citizens – and we may add, chaos
    and disaster. This Court noted that there must be some
    accountability not only of those violating the law but also of
    those errant officers who turn a blind eye to the misuse of
    residential premises for commercial purposes. It was observed in
    paragraph 61 of the Report as follows:
    “Despite passing of the laws and repeated orders of
    the [Delhi] High Court and this Court, the
    enforcement of the laws and the implementations of
    the orders are utterly lacking. If the laws are not
    enforced and the orders of the courts to enforce and
    implement the laws are ignored, the result can only be
    total lawlessness. It is, therefore, necessary to also
    identify and take appropriate action against officers
    responsible for this state of affairs. Such blatant
    misuse of properties at large-scale cannot take place
    without connivance of the officers concerned. It is
    also a source of corruption. Therefore, action is also
    necessary to check corruption, nepotism and total
    apathy towards the rights of the citizens. Those who
    32
    own the properties that are misused have also implied
    responsibility towards the hardship, inconvenience,
    suffering caused to the residents of the locality and
    injuries to third parties. It is, therefore, not only the
    question of stopping the misuser but also making the
    owners at default accountable for the injuries caused
    to others. Similar would also be the accountability of
    errant officers as well since, prima facie, such largescale misuser, in violation of laws, cannot take place
    without the active connivance of the officers. It would
    be for the officers to show what effective steps were
    taken to stop the misuser.” [Emphasis supplied by us].
  11. In view of the above, this Court directed the Delhi Municipal
    Corporation (for short the MCD) to give wide publicity in
    leading newspapers of the requirement that those misusing their
    residential premises for commercial purposes should cease the
    misuse on their own. It was also directed that 30 days after the
    issuance of the public notices, and if the misuse is not stopped,
    the process of sealing the premises would start. The period of 30
    days expired on or about 29th March, 2006.
  12. Unfortunately, issuance of the public notices had no impact
    either on those violating the law or on those expected to
    implement the rule of law. Perhaps, as observed by this Court,
    the reason was connivance, corruption, nepotism and total apathy
    towards the rights of the citizens of Delhi – who are today facing
    the brunt of the decades of illegalities having been committed
  13. Faced with this situation, in its decision of 24th March, 2006
    in M.C. Mehta v. Union of India3
    this Court observed that the
    MCD had issued appropriate notices but, to oversee the
    implementation of the law regarding residential premises used
    for commercial (nonindustrial) purposes, it would be appropriate
    to seal offending premises. Therefore, rather than leave any
    discretion to the officers of the MCD (for obvious reasons) a
    Monitoring Committee was appointed consisting of Mr. K.J.
    Rao, Former Advisor to the Election Commissioner, Mr. Bhure
    Lal, Chairman, EPCA and Major General (Retd.) Som Jhingan.
    All necessary facilities to the members of the Monitoring
    Committee were directed to be provided by the MCD including
    facility of transport, secretarial services, honorarium etc.

  1. On 30th April, 2013 this Court passed a significant judgment
    and order in M.C. Mehta v. Union of India.4
    This decision related
    3 W.P.(C) No.4677 of 1985
    4
    (2013) 16 SCC 336
    33
    to the challenge to the Act and subsequent legislations extending
    the provisions of the Act. A few directions were issued but two
    of them need particular mention: (i) All the writ petitions
    challenging the Delhi Laws (Special Provisions) Act, 2006 (and
    subsequent legislations virtually extending the provisions of the
    Act) and I.As. connected therewith were transferred to the Delhi
    High Court with a request to hear the matters at an early date,
    preferably within one year from the date of receipt of the entire
    records and papers. (ii) The order passed by this Court on 3rd
    January, 2012 in M.C. Mehta v. Union of India5
    to the following
    effect would continue:
    “Till the matter is heard by the Court, the Monitoring
    Committee shall not order further sealing of the
    premises which are under its scrutiny. We also direct
    that no construction, temporary or permanent, shall be
    made on the premises which have been the subjectmatter of scrutiny of the Monitoring Committee and
    no order shall be passed by the Government or any
    authority regularising such construction or sanction
    the change of user.”
  2. It seems to us that the applicants are keen to utilise the
    premises in question for residential purposes, as stated in their
    application. There is no apparent intention to utilise the premises
    in question for commercial purposes or for any purpose not
    permitted by law. That being the position, it would hardly serve
    any purpose if the applicants are required to formally file an
    appeal before the Appellate Tribunal which is apparently already
    dealing with a very large number of appeals. It would, therefore,
    be in the fitness of things to de-seal the premises in question for
    residential purposes subject to certain conditions.
    Directions
  3. In our opinion, as far as Infinity Knowledge Systems is
    concerned the following conditions would meet the ends of
    justice and also provide a safeguard against possible misuse of
    residential premises for commercial (nonindustrial) purposes:
    (1) The applicants will file an affidavit before the
    Monitoring Committee stating that they will use the
    premises in question only for residential purposes and for
    no other purpose whatsoever. The applicants will identify
    the persons for whose residential use the premises in
    question are sought to be desealed. Any change will be
    5
    (2012) 11 SCC 759
    34
    notified to the Monitoring Committee.
    (2) The affidavit filed by the applicants will state the name,
    address and other particulars of the person who will be
    responsible for any misuse of the premises in question, that
    is, for use of the premises in question for any purpose other
    than residential.
    (3) The person identified as the person responsible in terms
    of condition No.2 above will also file an affidavit clearly
    stating therein that he or she will ensure that the premises
    in question are used only for residential purposes and that
    in the event the premises in question are used for any
    purpose other than residential, the deponent would be liable
    for contempt of this Court.
    (4) The applicants will file with the Monitoring Committee
    proof of payment of conversion charges to the statutory
    authority.
    (5) The affidavits will be filed before the Monitoring
    Committee who may impose such other further conditions
    as may be appropriate.
  4. In the event the Monitoring Committee is satisfied that the
    premises in question ought to be de-sealed, it may require the
    concerned statutory authority to de-seal the premises in question.
    If the Monitoring Committee is not satisfied that the premises in
    question ought to be desealed, the applicants will be at liberty to
    approach this Court for appropriate orders. We make it clear that
    in view of Report No. 46 dated 12th November, 2007 this Order
    will not be applicable to all other commercial activities that have
    been sealed in the premises in question.
  5. We make it clear that henceforth it will not be necessary for
    any person whose residential premises have been sealed for
    misuse for any commercial (other than industrial) purposes at the
    instance of the Monitoring Committee to file an appeal before
    the appropriate statutory Appellate Tribunal. Instead, that person
    can directly approach the Monitoring Committee for relief after
    depositing an amount of Rs.1,00,000/- with the Monitoring
    Committee which will keep an account of the amounts received
    by it. Any person who has already filed an appeal before the
    appropriate statutory Appellate Tribunal but would prefer
    approaching the Monitoring Committee may withdraw the
    appeal and approach the Monitoring Committee for relief on the
    above terms and conditions and on deposit of Rs.1,00,000/- as
    costs with the Monitoring Committee, provided that the premises
    were sealed at the instance of the Monitoring Committee. Any
    challenge to the decision of the Monitoring Committee will lie to
    this Court only. We are constrained and compelled to make this
    35
    order given the history of the case and the more than serious
    observations of this Court of an apparent nexus between some
    entities and the observations regarding corruption and nepotism.
  6. We make it clear that this order will inure to the benefit of
    only those who are using residential premises for commercial
    purposes (nonindustrial) or for any other non-residential purpose
    and whose premises were sealed at the instance of the
    Monitoring Committee. This order will not at all inure for the
    benefit of anybody using residential premises for any industrial
    activity of any sort or nature whatsoever.
  7. With regard to the writ petitions that have been transferred to
    the Delhi High Court which challenge the Act and subsequent
    legislations, we find from a perusal of the website of the Delhi
    High Court that these petitions have not yet been heard, for one
    reason or another. We do not find any fault with the Delhi High
    Court. The intention of this Court in transferring the writ
    petitions to the Delhi High Court was for their expeditious
    disposal preferably within one year. Almost four years have gone
    by in this exercise but without any decision. Therefore, given the
    gravity of the situation as revealed from the Reports of the
    Monitoring Committee, we think it appropriate that this Court
    ought to hear the writ petitions on an expeditious basis and,
    accordingly, withdraw the writ petitions that were transferred to
    the Delhi High Court to this Court. The Registry will place these
    writ petitions on receipt from the Delhi High Court for directions
    on 12th January, 2018.”
    The order clarifies that the Monitoring Committee was to look into the
    misuse of residential premises for commercial purposes (non­industrial) or
    any non­residential purpose.
  8. There is yet another order dated 24.4.2018 passed by this Court, thus:
    “We have heard learned amicus curiae as well as learned
    Additional Solicitor General (Mr. Nadkarni) appearing for the
    Union of India, learned Additional Solicitor General (Mr.
    Maninder Singh) appearing for the DDA and learned counsel for
    Government of Delhi and other bodies.
    Mr. K.C. Naik, Member Secretary and Officiating
    Chairman of the Central Ground Water Board is present. He has
    been requested to give us the status of ground water level in 20
    36
    points in Delhi from the year 2000 onwards every five years
    including for the year 2017/2018 so that we are in a position to
    understand whether there has been a depletion of ground water
    and in which area and to what extent. This may be done in the
    form of a chart as well as in the form of a Plan/graph/map.
    It has been brought to our notice by learned amicus
    curiae that an order was passed by this Court on 27th August,
    2007 which is quoted in Report No.114 to the effect that
    construction is being carried out in unauthorized colonies. This
    has been possible because the building and other bye-laws do not
    apply to these unauthorized colonies. Consequently,
    unauthorized colonies are placed in a better position than
    authorized colonies. It has been recorded by this Court in the
    order dated 27th August, 2007 that unauthorized colonies cannot
    be placed in a better position than authorized colonies.
    In view of this situation, we direct that there should not be
    any further construction in unauthorized colonies including on
    public land beyond the existing building and other bye-laws.
    Consequently, all building and construction activity in the
    unauthorized colonies including on public land is stopped with
    immediate effect beyond the existing building and other byelaws applicable to authorized colonies. The concerned authorities
    will ensure compliance.
    It has been submitted by learned Additional Solicitor
    General (Mr. Nadkarni) that a Task Force is contemplated that
    will ensure that the orders of this Court and the applicable byelaws are implemented and encroachments, etc. as well as
    unauthorized constructions are removed.
    The Task Force as suggested by learned Additional
    Solicitor General (Mr. Nadkarni) may be constituted with
    immediate effect.
    As a first step, the Task Force should remove
    encroachments on public roads, public streets and pedestrian
    streets, as mentioned in the immediate action submitted by Mr.
    Nadkarni in a Revised Note dated 18th April, 2018. The needful
    should be done within a period of two weeks from today.
    We make it clear that the Monitoring Committee may
    suggest to the Task Force the areas where immediate action is
    required to be taken.
    It is stated by learned Additional Solicitor General (Mr.
    Maninder Singh) that about 27.02 acres of public land has been
    taken over by the Delhi Development Authority since 1st April,
  9. The details of this have not been mentioned. An affidavit
    should be filed giving full details of the 27.02 acres of public
    land that has been taken over by the Delhi Development
    Authority from unauthorized encroachments.
    List the matter on 15th May, 2018.”
    37
    (emphasis supplied)
  10. In compliance with the directions issued by this Court on 24.4.2018
    for the constitution of the Special Task Force, an Office Memorandum dated
    25.4.2018 was issued, which was not with respect to the conferral of powers
    on the Monitoring Committee, but of the Special Task Force. The relevant
    portion is extracted hereunder:
    “In compliance of the directions of the Hon’ble Supreme
    Court dated 24.4.2018 given in the case of M.C. Mehta v. Union
    of India & Ors. (WP (Civil) 4677/1985), the following Action
    Plan was submitted in the hearing held on 15.5.2018 as intention
    and commitment to check all ongoing/ future unauthorized
    constructions, examination of specific complaints of
    unauthorized constructions in the part and to take action thereon
    and to weed out malpractices and corruption in the functioning
    of developmental and municipal bodies under over the overall
    supervision and coordination of the Special Task Force (STF)
    constituted vide OM dated 25-4-2018.
  11. Plan of Action to ensure that no further illegal
    construction/ irregularity takes place in future
    i) On the basis of territorial jurisdiction of the statutory
    authorities/ local bodies like Delhi Development Authority, New
    Delhi Municipal Council, South Delhi Municipal Corporation,
    North Delhi Municipal Corporation and East Delhi Municipal
    Corporation a Grid of officers has been prepared. This Grid
    would include the names, telephone numbers and emails of the
    concerned Executive Engineer / Equivalent Officer of respective
    zones of the various statutory authorities/ local bodies, who shall
    be held accountable for all future irregular and unauthorized
    constructions/ violations of the MPD-2021, the DMC Act, 1957
    and the Building Bye-Laws. The List of Officers included in the
    in the Grid is annexed which shall be uploaded on web-site
    being created separately for information of the general public
    and will be regularly updated by the concerned statutory
    authority from time to time, if any one gets transferred or
    changed.”
  12. It is apparent that the Monitoring Committee was authorized to take
    care of the unauthorized colonies, and the Special Task Force was directed
    to remove the encroachments from the public roads and public streets. This
    38
    Court considered Report No.114 and thereby had passed certain orders.
    Report No.114 of 2018 is related to unauthorized constructions and
    commercial activities in 1797 unauthorized colonies. Thus, the order of this
    Court was confined to the unauthorized colonies and commercial activities
    mentioned in the report as to encroachment on the public land.
  13. The order dated 8.5.2018 is with respect to the groundwater level, not
    pertaining to the matter in question. The order dated 15.5.2018 is with
    respect to the Central Government to hear and decide the objections as to
    Master Plan and the Special Task Force constituted under the DDA Act 1957
    was ordered to continue with their duties and responsibilities and action
    plan submitted by the Attorney General was to be implemented by the
    Special Task Force, not by the Monitoring Committee.
  14. In the order dated 24.5.2018, this Court issued the directions to the
    statutory authorities to take appropriate action. With respect to illegal and
    unauthorized structures, no direction was issued to the Monitoring
    Committee. Following observations were made:
    “14. We may mention that it has been recorded that Delhi is
    being ravaged by unauthorized encroachments and illegal
    constructions with impunity and none of the civic authorities
    including the Delhi Development Authority was sincerely
    carrying out its statutory duties. It is painful to require the
    issuance of directions to statutory authorities to carry out their
    mandatory functions in accordance with the law enacted by
    Parliament. Unfortunately, the situation in Delhi warranted such
    a direction due to the apathy of the civic authorities.”
  15. This Court considered Report No.127 on 24.8.2018 related to the
    encroachment on the “public land” with respect to the construction at
    39
    Burari, Vishwas Nagar (EDMC), Kishangarh, South Zone (SDMC), the
    encroachment of DDA land at Karkardooma Metro Station (EDMC) and
    Bhatti Mines area of SDMC.
  16. The order dated 7.9.2018 has also been referred to in which following
    facts have been noted.:
    “2. Functioning of the Monitoring Committee
    It is stated that the Monitoring Committee is doing its best to
    comply with the orders passed by this Court and to ensure that
    there are no encroachments or unauthorized constructions or
    misuse of property in Delhi, but the Monitoring Committee is
    not getting adequate support from the executing agencies namely
    MCD, NDMC, DDA, and the Police. Therefore, there are
    existing constraints with the result that the Monitoring
    Committee has not been able to fully comply with the orders
    passed by this Court.
    We request the Monitoring Committee to continue with its
    onerous task and we expect the statutory bodies (mentioned
    above) as well as the Police to render all necessary assistance to
    the Monitoring Committee in carrying out its task. If there are
    any specific complaints, these should be brought to the notice of
    this Court as has been done in the past.
    Needless to say that any complaint made by the Monitoring
    Committee brought to the notice of this Court will be taken up
    with all due seriousness.”
    This Court has specifically noted in the aforesaid paragraph that the
    Monitoring Committee is doing its best to remove the encroachments/
    unauthorized constructions or misuse of the property, but that is related to
    the encroachments on the public land and unauthorized colonies, and at no
    point of time this Court has authorized the Monitoring Committee to take
    action concerning residential premises which were standing on the private
    land and were not being misused. The aforesaid observations are not with
    respect to the Committee’s authorization but have to be read in the context
    of the purpose for which the Monitoring Committee had been appointed.
    40
    The power of the Monitoring Committee could not be said to be widened by
    the aforesaid observations made in the order. This Court specifically dealt
    with in several orders the questions relating to power and the purpose for
    which the Monitoring Committee had been appointed.
  17. The learned Amicus invited the attention to the order dated
    12.10.2018, in which this Court simply observed that the Monitoring
    Committee should carry out its activities and responsibilities. The order is
    quoted hereunder:
    “The office report indicates that No Objection Certificate
    from Shri Ajay Kumar Singh has not yet been obtained. The
    alleged contemnor should file the No Objection Certificate in the
    Registry.
    The additional affidavit be filed in this regard before the next
    date of hearing.
    List the matter on 30th October, 2018.
    It is made clear that the pendency of these proceedings should
    not deter the Monitoring Committee or any other authority from
    carrying out its activities and responsibilities.
    The alleged contemnor should remain present in Court on the
    next date of hearing.”
    (emphasis supplied)
  18. In the order dated 5.12.2018, the court pointed out with respect to the
    large number of complaints received by the Special Task Force and removal
    of encroachments from the public land, thus:
    “1. Mr. Tarun Kapoor, the Vice Chairman of the DDA and the
    Chairman of the Special Task Force (STF) is present in the Court
    today.
    The learned ASG, on taking instructions from him, says that
    while it is correct that regular reports have not been filed in terms of
    the orders passed by this Court, fortnightly report will henceforth be
    filed without fail by the STF.
    It is further stated that the STF has received a very large
    number of complaints exceeding 7000 and it has become quite
    difficult to deal with all these complaints. So far about 3,400
    complaints have been dealt with.
    41
    In view of the large number of complaints, efforts are being
    made to recruit additional staff. It is stated by Mr. Kapoor that
    additional staff will be recruited within 15 days or so or in any case
    before 31.12.2018.
    We expect the STF to expeditiously deal with all these
    complaints and take appropriate action wherever necessary. This may
    be done in a time bound manner.
    We may note that the fact that the STF has received more than
    7000 complaints indicates the magnitude of the problem of
    encroachments and unauthorized construction in Delhi.
  19. A consolidated report of the actions taken on the recommendations
    of the Special Task Force has been shown to us today.
    On perusal of the report, we find that the total area cleared
    from encroachment by the STF under permanent structures is as high
    as 10,71,838 sq mts. The area under temporary structures that has
    been cleared from encroachment is 16,99,858 sq mts. In addition,
    about 3,202 sq mts of roads / streets / footpaths have been cleared on
    both sides. This confirms the severe problems being faced by Delhi
    due to unauthorized construction and encroachments and the
    magnitude of the problem.
  20. In view of the huge amount of land that has been retrieved by
    the Municipal Corporations under the directions of the STF, it is
    necessary to preserve and protect the lands so that there is no
    encroachment upon it once again.
    Since the Commissioners of the Municipal Corporations are
    part of the STF, we would require the STF to look into the matter
    with due seriousness and protect and preserve the land that has been
    taken possession/retrieved from the unauthorized encroachments.
    Needless to say, this also includes the roads/streets/footpaths that
    have been cleared by the STF with the assistance of the Municipal
    Corporations.”
  21. Learned Amicus relied upon order dated 14.1.2019. The relevant
    portion is extracted hereunder:
    “….The Monitoring Committee, along with the Deputy
    Commissioner, Nazafgarh Zone, SDMC, inspected the area
    behind Sector 7 Dwarka Sub-city on 30.10.2018 and noticed
    major unauthorised constructions in the amalgamated plots
    wherein huge showrooms, restaurants, Gyms etc. were found to
    be in operation. The Deputy Commissioner, Nazafgarh Zone,
    SDMC, were immediately directed to issue show cause notice to
    all the violators in respect of unauthorised constructions and
    misuse.
    Let the SDMC explain as to why they have not taken any
    42
    action under the provisions of DMC Act for unauthorised
    constructions and as to why the responsibility of taking action
    has to be fastened only to Revenue Department, District
    Magistrate and SDM. The needful be done within three weeks
    from today.
    Let the Revenue Department also explain its stand on the
    action taken on the unauthorised constructions pursuant to the
    observations made by the Committee and the directions issued in
    respect of the plots vested in Sector 7 at Dwarka Sub-city. ….”
    It is apparent that in the order dated 14.1.2019, this Court has noted
    that construction of showrooms, restaurants, gyms that was for the
    “commercial purpose” and notice was issued in respect of “unauthorized
    constructions and misuse of the residential area”.
  22. Learned Amicus referred to the order dated 31.7.2001 passed in Writ
    Petition (C) No.27 of 1994. The relevant portion is extracted hereunder:
    “52. ….The perusal of the affidavits further shows that the
    parties concerned have not even touched the tip of the iceberg as
    far as demolition of unauthorised constructions is concerned.
    The number of unauthorised constructions which are said to have
    been demolished are a small fraction of what is required to be
    done. It is quote evident that there is now no fear of the law
    catching up at least with those persons who do not believe in
    adhering to following the rules and regulations laid down with
    respect to construction of property. Unauthorised encroachment
    and illegal construction even as per the affidavits are increasing.
    It is dangerous trend if the people do not have either respect for
    or fear of law primarily due to non-enforcement of the law. It is
    something which causes us some concern and it would be
    appropriate if serious thought is given to this aspect at the higher
    quarters…….
  23. …. On one hand, various laws are enacted, master
    plans are prepared by expert planners, provision is made in the
    plans also to tackle the problems of existing unauthorised
    constructions and misusers and on the other hand, such illegal
    activities go on unabated openly under the gaze of everyone,
    without having any respect and regard for law and other
    citizens…..
  24. ……Despite passing of the laws and repeated orders of
    43
    the High Court and this Court, the enforcement of the laws and
    the implementation of the orders are utterly lacking. If the law
    are not enforced and the orders of the courts to enforce and
    implement the laws are ignored, the result can only be total
    lawlessness. It is, therefore, necessary to also identify and take
    appropriate action against officers responsible for this state of
    affairs. Such blatant misuse of properties at large scale cannot
    take place without connivance of the concerned officers. It is
    also a source of corruption…. ”
  25. In the order reported in (2004) 6 SCC 588 in this case, this Court
    considered the question of regularization of illegal industrial activities in the
    context of a violation of Master Plan and industrial activities in residential
    non­conforming areas of Delhi. Requisite directions were issued for closure
    or relocation of industrial units non­confirming with the ecological balance
    considering the right of a hygienic, clean and safe environment. The
    decision is not relevant with respect to the power and authority of the
    Monitoring Committee to act.
  26. It is pertinent to mention here that earlier this Court in the same
    matter passed an order reported in (2013) 16 SCC 336 whereby sent all the
    matters from Supreme Court to the High Court. Since in the High Court, the
    progress was slow, later on, vide order dated 15.12.2017, this Court called
    all the matters back to this Court.
  27. No doubt about it that matter of encroachment is a matter of concern,
    but the Monitoring Committee can act within the four corners of powers
    conferred upon it and purpose for which the court appointed the Monitoring
    Committee. It cannot exceed its powers and take any action beyond its
    authorization by the court.
    44
  28. We have gone through the various reports referred to by the learned
    Amicus Curiae and other learned counsel concerning sealing. They reflect
    the following position:
    REPORT NO.1
  29. Report No.1 dated 13.4.2006 submitted by the Monitoring Committee,
    is captioned under Para 1, which is extracted hereunder:
    “PRELIMINARY REPORT OF THE MONITORING
    COMMITTEE FOR SEALING OF COMMERCIAL
    ESTABLISHMENTS IN RESIDENTIAL PREMISES
  30. The Hon’ble Supreme Court of India vide its order dated 24th
    March 2006 had appointed a Monitoring Committee
    comprising of Sh.K.J. Rao, Former Advisor to Election
    Commission, Sh. Bhure Lal, Chairman, E.P.C.A. and Maj.
    General (Retd.) Som Jhingon, Kirti Chakra, VSM to monitor
    the sealing of commercial establishments in residential
    premises in Delhi. The Municipal Corporation of Delhi
    (MCD) had informed the members of their appointment as
    Members of the Monitoring Committee on 28th/30th March,
  31. Sh. Bhure Lal & Sh. K.J. Rao took charge of office on
    29th March 2006 and had a meeting with the officers of the
    Municipal Corporation of Delhi and Senior Advocates of
    MCD.”
    REPORT NO.2
  32. In Report No.2 dated 6.5.2006 submitted by the Monitoring
    Committee, is captioned as under:
    “REPORT NO.2 OF THE MONITORING COMMITTEE
    FOR SEALING OF COMMERCIAL ESTABLISHMENTS
    IN RESIDENTIAL PREMISES”
    The Report is with respect to the sealing of commercial establishments
    in residential premises. Certain suggestions were made with respect to
    roads measuring 80 ft. wide and above, mixed land use and payment of
    45
    conversion charges, zonal plans, parking, vacant commercial units built by
    Delhi Development Authority, and Banquet halls. Following is the Executive
    Summary of the Report:
    “EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
  33. Taking into consideration the above factual position,
    the Monitoring Committee recommends the Hon’ble Supreme
    Court kindly to consider to direct:
    a. The MCD to recover from the beneficiaries, where mixed
    land use has been allowed, the conversion and parking
    charges together with interest thereon from the date of the
    notification allowing mixed land use of the premises
    besides revising the conversion charged fixed by the MCD
    in 1992.
    b. The MCD to ensure that Front Setbacks are surrendered by
    the beneficiaries of mixed land use streets, as laid down in
    Clause 8(4) of the Master Plan 2001.
    c. The MCD to complete the sealing operations in respect of
    identified roads having width of 80 ft & above and to take
    up thereafter the sealing operations in respect of roads
    having width of 60 ft. & above after giving a Public Notice,
    as has been done in the case of roads of 80 ft width and
    above.
    d. The Ministry of Urban Development – Govt. of India to
    approve and notify the draft Zonal Plans already prepared
    and pending with the DDA in respect of the remaining nine
    zones wherein mixed land use roads have already been
    identified for which not more than 15 days time is required.
    Simultaneously the work regarding the survey and
    preparation of Draft Zonal Plans in accordance with the
    Master Plan 221 may continue.
    e. The Ministry of Urban Development – Govt. of India to
    modify its Notification dated 28th March 2006 based on the
    suggestions given by the Committee in paras 17, 18 & 19
    above.
    f. Govt. of NCT of Delhi and all the local bodies to ensure
    the implementation of the parking policy.”
    REPORT NO.3
  34. Report No.3 dated 23.5.2006 is again for sealing the “commercial
    46
    establishments in the residential premises”. It has the reference with
    respect to the commercial establishments carrying out commercial activities
    at their premises. It also has a reference to the Delhi Laws (Special
    Provisions) Act, 2006. Some explanations are also in the report concerning
    the de­sealing of commercial establishments.
    REPORT NO.4
  35. Report No.4 dated 24.5.2006 is again CAPTION as Report No.1. The
    report is concerning the “commercial establishments” as mentioned in Para
    2 such as automobile showrooms, Automobile workshops, Branded
    showrooms, call centers, coaching institutes, business offices, building
    materials, go­downs, tent houses, guest houses, jewellery shops, restaurants
    and iron and steel shops. The report has a mention of “small shops”, which
    deals with private activities in “residential areas” such as Vegetable/ fruits/
    flowers, bakery items, kirana, stationery, cybercafé, barber shop, chemist
    shops, etc. The report further states about “prohibited commercial activities
    in residential areas,” such as banquet halls, storage, go­downs, junk shops,
    liquor shops, printing, dyeing, and varnishing, etc.
  36. Bistro Village is situated at Hauz Khas. In para 17, it is mentioned
    that it is an urban village where permitted land use for the area is
    residential, and no commercial activity within the village can be permitted. It
    was observed that a major part of the village is full of commercial activities,
    even though no commercial activity was permitted in Hauz Khaz village,
    which is a residential area. The report also mentions commercial activities
    in unauthorized colonies like Madhu Vihar, where area earmarked for a
    47
    Community Centre, Health Centre, and other community facilities has
    encroached. The report was relating to “commercial use in the residential
    premises”. It was also mentioned that there is an encroachment of the
    monument on public land.
    REPORT NO.5
  37. Report No.5 dated 20.9.2006 CAPTION as Report No.1, following facts
    have been mentioned:
    “9. Commercial Activity in Unauthorised Colonies on
    Encroached Public Land – Madhu Vihar: In Its Report No. 4,
    the Monitoring Committee reported to the Hon’ble Supreme
    Court regarding commercial establishments on encroached
    public land in many unauthorized colonies pending
    regularization. Examples of Madhu Vihar and New Ashok Nagar
    were given in the said Report. The photographs enclosed as
    Annexure ‘E’ with the said Report clearly show the extent of
    commercial activities on the encroached public land even on the
    roads of 80’ and above in Madhu Vihar. The Monitoring
    Committee visited Madhu Vihar on 19th September 2006 and
    noticed that in the entire colony commercial activities have
    almost been stopped and hectic activities going on for
    conversion of those places as residential houses. The entire
    commercial area has again been photographed. The photographs
    now taken on 19th September 2006 are enclosed. Development
    Notification, dated 7th September, 2006, the Government of NCT
    of Delhi had notified such streets/stretches (Number not Indicated) by way of a Notification No.149, dated 15th September,
  38. It had further been stated that the Government of India and
    the Government of NCT of Delhi have enacted the notifications
    under the powers conferred to them under the DDA Act and that
    they are valid and constitutional. The Commissioner MCD concluded that “what amounted to mis-user prior to the above Notifications cannot be termed as mis-user at the present point of
    time to the extent provided for in the Notifications. The Hon’ble
    Supreme court of India has directed the MCD to take sealing action ln case of mis-user. Thus, to the extent mis-user continues
    after the above Notifications, the same will be sealed as per the
    directions of the Hon’ble Supreme Court”. A copy of the Note of
    the Commissioner, MCD is enclosed herewith and marked as
    Annexure ‘C’.
    48
  39. As the Notification No.149, dated 15th September, 2006 referred to in the Note of the Commissioner, MCD had not been
    received by the Monitoring Committee till 11 A.M. on 18th September, 2006, a letter was sent to the MCD for a copy of the
    same. The Commissioner MCD informed the Monitoring Committee to say that they had received only the first eight pages of
    the Notification and that the full text of the Notification would
    be available only by the evening of 18th September, 2006. A copy
    of the Notification, dated 15th September, 2006, has finally been
    received by the Monitoring Committee at 6 P.M. on 19th September, 2006.
  40. The Monitoring Committee would submit to the Hon’ble
    Supreme Court that the rationale and the stand taken by the
    MCD on sealing operations Vide its Note, dated 16th September,
    2006 is different from the stand earlier taken by it on the 15th
    September, 2006, in the meeting of the Monitoring Committee
    with the Commissioner and other officers of the MCD, which is
    somewhat surprising. The Monitoring Committee further submits
    that as per the sealing programmes received from the MCD, the
    sealing operations are being done by the MCD as per the stand
    taken by it in its Note, dated 16th September, 2006. Accordingly,
    sealing operations are being done in areas/roads which herewith
    and collectively marked as Annexure ‘D’. A comparison of
    these two sets of photographs show the extent of change of face
    of the commercial area. The Monitoring Committee brings it to
    the notice of the Hon’ble Court that any building having commercial activity on any encroachment of ‘public property is not
    eligible for regularization. Para 1.1 (b) of the Revised Guidelines
    for regularization of unauthorized colonies as framed by the
    Govt. of NCT Delhi provides that colonies /parts of ‘colonies
    which pose hindrances in the provision of infrastructure facilities
    would not be considered for regularization. As already mentioned in its Report No. 4 the Monitoring Committee had
    brought to the kind notice of the Hon’ble Supreme Court that as
    per the zonal plan entire encroached area is meant for development as Community Center, Medical Center and Public Utility
    facilities. Further para 1.1(d) of the said guidelines provides that
    no regularization will be done in respect of the buildings used for
    commercial purposes except for petty shops upto 50 sqm. DDA
    has not taken cognizance of these violations on encroached public land. In view of the foregoing, the Monitoring committee reiterates its recommendations to the Hon’ble Supreme Court to direct the DDA to take immediate action, in a phased manner, to
    demolish all such buildings having commercial activities on encroached public land in all colonies in Delhi.”
    49
    REPORT NO.6
  41. In Report No.6 dated 22.9.2006 by the Monitoring Committee, the
    following facts have been mentioned:
    “3. The Monitoring Committee, in addition, would like to bring
    it to the kind notice of the Hon’ble Court that despite clear
    instructions from the Monitoring Committee to carry out the
    sealings colony-wise instead of road-to-road basis, in respect of
    prohibited activities in residential areas, the MCD had issued
    contrary orders to the Sealing Teams of various zones to carry
    out the sealings in parts in various colonies in the zone without
    completing the work in a particular colony at a time. The
    reasons and the rationale for this changed action not in
    consonance with the directions of the Monitoring Committee are
    not known.”
    REPORT NO.7
  42. In Report No.7 dated 27.9.2006 the CAPTION remains the same as
    Report No.1, the following facts have been mentioned:
    “1. The Monitoring Committee has, in its Report No.4
    recommended the perception of a small shop, in which 19
    commercial activities have been mentioned. The Monitoring
    Committee has inadvertently omitted the following activities
    which may kindly be considered for inclusion in the said list:-
    a. Cable TV/ DTH operations;
    b. Hosiery/ Readymade Garments/ Cloth Shops;
    c. ATM;
    1.1 The Monitoring Committee further recommends that
    the Hon’ble Court may kindly consider to fix a date before
    which the owners of the small shops should get themselves
    registered after depositing the conversion charges and getting the
    Building Plans revised.
  43. Similarly, the Hon’ble Court may kindly consider to fix a date
    before which owners of the shops under mixed land use/
    commercial use get themselves registered after depositing the
    conversion charges and getting the Building Plans revised.”
    REPORT NO.8
  44. In Report No.8 dated 17.10.2006, the ‘CAPTION’ remains the same as
    50
    Report No.1. The report states meeting with the Commissioner of Police,
    Delhi, and sealing programme in unauthorized colonies.
    REPORT NO.16
  45. Report No.16 dated 23.11.2006 is regarding the sealing of “CTC Plaza”
    at Kilokhri, Ring Road. It is a “branded showroom” of diamond jewellery,
    sarees, costumes, readymade garments, etc. It has been used for commercial
    activity.
    REPORT NO.31
  46. In Report No.31 dated 2.3.2007 ‘CAPTION’ is the same as Report No.1,
    the following facts have been mentioned by the Monitoring Committee:
    “2. The Monitoring Committee brings it to the kind notice of the
    Hon’ble Supreme Court that following establishments are not
    covered by the Master Plan 2021:
    (a) Commercial activities on encroached public land;
    (b) Commercial activities on floors other than ground floor in
    notified Mixed Land Use Roads/ Pedestrian Roads;
    (c) Prohibited commercial activities in residential and Mixed
    land use areas mentioned in para 15.6.2 of Master Plan Delhi2021;
    (d) Commercial activities in basements in residential areas;
    (e) Commercial establishments on roads other than the 2183
    roads notified as Mixed Land Use or Commercial or Pedestrian
    roads by Notifications dated 7th September and 15th September
    2006 for which no protection is extended (however 90 days time
    has been provided in the Master Plan-2021 for survey and to
    notify additional roads further to 2183 roads);
    (f) Specific Commercial establishments / properties mentioned in
    the judgment dated 16th February 2006 of the Hon’ble Supreme
    Court (While disposing of the Civil Appeals, Interlocutory
    Applications (other than IA 22) and Special Leave Petitions in
    the matter, the Hon’ble Supreme Court has, in its Judgement
    dated 16th February, 2006, directed that in case misuser is not
    stopped in the premises involved in the Civil Appeals and
    Special Leave Petitions, subject to what had been stated in the
    Judgement, the MCD would take immediate steps to seal those
    premises soon after expiry of 30 days). The MCD has been
    requested to furnish a list of such properties which have to be
    51
    sealed in terms of this order). Specific properties mentioned in
    the Report No.4 dated 14th September 2006 of the Monitoring
    Committee (commercial establishments on encroached public
    land meant for public utility services), as per directions of the
    Hon’ble Supreme Court in its order dated 29th September 2006.”
    REPORT NO.34
  47. Report No.34 dated 9.4.2017 ‘CAPTION’ is as Report No.1. Nonavailability of the police force was required to carry out sealing operation in
    the Report.
    REPORT NO.38
  48. In Report No.38 dated 21.7.2007, the ‘CAPTION’ is as Report No.1.
    The report is with respect to the “Mixed­Use Regulations” and “Special Area
    Regulations” as per the MPD­2021. Regulation No.16.2 of the MPD­2021
    was referred to in the report. It was also pointed out that there should be
    “one shop on one plot in the residential areas”. The detail of the registration
    was given for small shops, professionals, commercial and other activities in
    the residential areas. Concerning conversion charges for mixed land use,
    certain suggestions were made. The report also contains the detail of the
    encroachment made on the public land. The report also contains in detail
    the provisions of the MPD­2021 and regarding “regularization of
    unauthorized colonies” on “encroached public land” of “Gram Sabha”,
    acquired land, “DDA land”, “MCD land”, “Forest land”, etc. It was pointed
    out that total encroachments on public land is “26,830 Bigha 17 Biswas”.
    “Unauthorized colonies which have come up on the public land” were having
    “commercial activities” also.
    REPORT NO.43
    52
  49. Report No.43 dated 5.10.2007 ‘CAPTION’ is the same as in Report
    No.1. It is apparent from the entire Report No.43 that it was concerning
    payment of conversion charges for small shops, “mixed use” and
    “commercial activities” registered. The report further states regarding godowns in rural areas and “encroachment” of Raj Vidya Kender upon the
    “public land”.
    REPORT NO.46
  50. Report No.46 dated 12.11.2007 was filed concerning IAs regarding
    sealing of premises of the ICICI ‘Bank’ Limited at New Friends Colony,
    various “business schools and institutions, physiotherapy and wellness
    centers/hotels at the Kailash Colony” area where “residential premises have
    been used for the commercial activities”.
    REPORT NO.47
  51. Report No.47 dated 5.12.2007 was submitted concerning various IAs
    filed in this Court with respect to sealed premises of Small Shops Traders
    Welfare Association. The Monitoring Committee observed concerning
    Vidhata Estates Private Limited that it was running “commercial activities in
    building.” The Monitoring Committee observed as under:
    “In view of the foregoing, the Monitoring Committee submits
    that the applicant, who is running commercial activities in a
    building on a part of the plot abutting a non-notified road, with
    unauthorized constructions and having no legal access to the
    notified road, is not entitled to any relief in the matter.”
    (emphasis supplied)
  52. Some hotels, guest houses, other commercial premises, business
    schools, etc. were also mentioned. “None of the items” is for “purely
    residential premises”. The Monitoring Committee further observed:
    53
    “The MCD has already been informed by the Monitoring
    Committee that industrial units in residential areas do not fall
    under its purview and the same may be sealed or de-sealed as per
    the directions of the Monitoring Committee constituted by the
    Hon’ble Supreme Court for the purpose.”
    REPORT NO.75
  53. Report No.75 dated 1.1.2020 is concerning the “commercial activities”
    and unauthorized construction by “Reebok Showroom”, “Hotel” West End
    Inn, Central Plaza, NH 8, and “Rangapuri” Extension.
  54. Concerning ensuring the implementation of the Master Plan of Delhi,
    2021 (MPD­2021), in its true spirit, all “commercial activities in residential
    premises” are identified and removed. Following facets have been mentioned
    by the Monitoring Committee in its Report:
    “2. SPECIAL SUBMISSION OF THE MONITORING
    COMMITTEE
    The Monitoring Committee submits that the Committee has
    been appointed by the Hon’ble Supreme Court to ensure
    implementation of its orders in the matter after taking into
    consideration large scale commercialization of residential
    premises. By various orders, the Hon’ble Supreme Court laid
    down the guidelines and also ensured that the Government
    brought out the Master Plan of Delhi, 2021. The Monitoring
    Committee has tried to ensure the implementation of MPD-2021
    in its true spirit by ensuring that all commercial activities in
    residential premises are identified and removed. Some important
    facets are:
  55. Admissibility of only one small shop on a plot in residential
    premises
  56. Re-survey of classified roads. Many roads which do not
    qualify to be notified either as MLU/ Commercial Road even
    as per the MCD survey, have not been de-notified despite the
    assurance given by the MCED to the Hon’ble Supreme Court
    and several reminders by the Monitoring Committee. In one
    case a single property in A & B Colony (A-4 Sarvodaya
    Enclave) has been clubbed with E&F Colony and notified as
    commercial road in blatant violation of the MPD-2021, by an
    amendment to the Notification dated 15th Sept 2006).
    54
  57. Commercialization in Rural & Urban Villages.
  58. Encroachment of public land by the traders.
  59. Non sealing of commercial activities in non-permissible
    premises like D-1, D-1A & D-18, Green Park Min Market,
    Jahaz Mahal (Mehrauli) Shiva Market in a DDA Pak in
    Rohini Zone etc.
  60. Parking & free circulation on commercial roads.
  61. Breaking of seals in more than 70 reported cases in just two
    Zones of MCD, in which action has not been initiated for
    contempt of court proceedings.”
    REPORT NO.85
  62. In Report No.85 dated 4.4.2011, ‘CAPTION’ is the same as in Report
    No.1. A complaint was made by the Monitoring Committee as to the order of
    the Lt. Governor of Delhi for “de­sealing” some of the establishments under
    “commercial/ mixed land use” in violation of orders of this Court. The details
    of “construction on public land” by Dr. Lal Path Labs, 54, Hanuman Road,
    and encroachment on public land, unauthorized construction, and misuse of
    “shops/flats in Khan Market” area was concerned.
    REPORT NO.103
  63. In Report No.103 dated 12.4.2016, it was pointed out that pursuant to
    remitting the cases by this Court to the Delhi High Court, various difficulties
    in the implementation of the order were pointed out. The details were given
    with respect to the hearing of the cases by the Delhi High Court and
    progress on disposal of appeals before the Tribunals. The details of desealing of properties in the unauthorized colony, village & abadi area
    (including urban villages constructed on public land) were given. The details
    were given about the refusal of the Standing Committee of the erstwhile
    MCD to de­notify 140 Roads in Shahdara North, Rohini, Central, South, and
    West Zones resurveyed. Violations of the orders dated 3.1.2012 and
    55
    30.4.2013 by various commercial establishments were pointed out and other
    facts regarding interference of Lt. Governor of Delhi in the sealing matter of
    Dr. Lal Path Labs Pvt. Ltd. etc. and unauthorized construction on
    Government and public land were given thus:
    “The Monitoring Committee would submit to the Hon’ble Court
    that the Municipal Authorities, NDMC and DDA are lax in the
    performance of their duty with respect to unauthorised
    construction and encroachment on public/ govt. land. The public
    at large is violating the laid down orders i.e. Building Bye Laws
    and Master Plan etc. The fear factor with respect to the punitive
    action by the Authorities is totally missing from the public mind
    thereby creating a chaotic situation on the ground in whole of
    Delhi. The officers concerned are not performing there assigned
    duties. The DDA has not been able to safe guard/ protect its land
    and there is rampant encroachment. The DDA must as a policy
    make a boundary wall to protect the land from any type of
    encroachment and also carry out regular inspection of their land
    holdings.”
    REPORT NO.104
  64. Report No.104 dated 30.10.2017 deals with the “conversion charges”
    regarding “mixed use land”, de­notification of 140 roads, “unauthorized
    construction” on “public and Government land” and “unauthorized colonies
    were being constructed by way of encroachments in the Government land”.
    The Report further states regarding violations by commercial establishments
    like Delhi Cloth Mills and other institutions where “commercial shops” were
    built and regarding Ambassador “Hotel” etc.
    REPORT NO.106
  65. In Report No.106 dated 10.1.2018 submitted by the Monitoring
    Committee, public land use was acquired where unauthorized structures
    were raised. The Monitoring Committee has mentioned the following facts:
    “The Monitoring Committee has finalized its plan to carry out
    56
    the assigned task of sealing the unauthorized structures, eradicate
    misuse and remove encroachment on DDA/ Government land
    and making the public aware of the seriousness of their crime for
    any illegal act in this process. Retrieval of DDA land and Forest
    land is the priority task set by the Monitoring Committee.”
    REPORT NO.111
  66. In Report No.111 dated 7.2.2018 concerning E­5A, Hauz Khaz Market,
    New Delhi, it was submitted that the same falls under Shops­cumResidential use, not as a Local Shopping Centre. The Report was regarding
    “use of basement for professional activities in residential premises”. It
    further dealt with the “encroachments on the public land” and submits that
    the “commercial activities are not permitted in the converted shops cum
    residence”.
    REPORT NO.112
  67. Report No.112 dated 9.2.2018 of the Monitoring Committee is
    concerning large scale “commercial activities in the residential premises” at
    Shahdara, South Zone.
    REPORT NO.114
  68. Report No.114 dated 3.4.2018 is concerning the construction of
    unauthorized colonies on Gram Sabha land, acquired land, DDA land, and
    MCD land. It was submitted that no regularization could be done in respect
    of residential premises used for non­residential purposes.
    REPORT NO.118
  69. Report No.118 dated 7.5.2018 concerns the “Khan Market” where
    “verandahs were encroached and amalgamated in the shops” causing
    hardship to the visitors in the market. The report further states regarding
    57
    encroachment of DDA land at Sanjay Market, Mangolpur Kalan in Rohini
    Zone and misuse of premises for commercial activities
    REPORT NO.119
  70. Report No.119 dated 24.5.2018 is regarding the slow progress of the
    “sealing operations” in Lajpat Nagar­IV and Amar Colony­Refugee Colony,
    where large scale “encroachments” were made by owners/ occupants on the
    “Government land”.
    REPORT NO.120
  71. Report No.120 dated 11.6.2018, again referred to this Court’s order
    dated 29.9.2006 regarding “conversion of residential user into commercial”
    user except with the leave of this Court.
    It was observed that the Government’s obligation was to ensure
    compliance of the order of this Court, and the Special Task Force and the
    Monitoring Committee were directed to continue with its duties and
    responsibilities.
    REPORT NO.121
  72. Report No.121 dated 13.6.2018 was concerning “non­cooperation” of
    the local bodies with the Sealing Officer, where after inspection, it was found
    that certain “rooftops” were being used as “pubs” and “dance floors” after
    clubbing the plots illegally.
    REPORT NO.124
  73. In Report No.124 dated 4.7.2018 again, a complaint was made relating
    to “non­cooperation” of authorities in the sealing process as the Master Plan
    58
    (MPD­2021) was under consideration.
    REPORT NO.125
  74. Report No.125 dated 31.7.2018 is concerning the constitution of the
    Special Task Force. It was pointed out that there was “non­cooperation” by
    the “Special Task Force”. Details were mentioned about sealing action at
    Amar Colony, Lajpat Nagar, where the “tenements” built by the Government
    for residential purposes only were allotted to refugees in various colonies in
    Delhi on a lease basis. Most of them were used for “commercial activities by
    raising unauthorized construction” on the Government and common land.
    Details about the roads were also given.
    REPORT NO.127
  75. Report No.127 dated 20.8.2018 was again concerning illegal/
    unauthorized construction. With respect to “Burari Area” (North MCD) the
    report was submitted that the area was vandalized and huge unauthorized
    construction has come up. Concerning “Vishwas Nagar” (EDMC), report was
    relating to “residential premises being used as Go­downs” and storing places
    for “prohibited industries,”. In Kishangarh area at South Zone, large scale
    unauthorized construction was reported on DDA land by way of
    encroachment. Similarly, the encroachment on DDA land at Karkardooma
    Metro Station was pointed out. At Bhatti Mines area of SDMC,
    “encroachment of Revenue/Forest land” was pointed out.
    REPORT NO.128
  76. In Report No.128 dated 5.9.2018 suggestions were made regarding
    59
    permanent de­sealing norms. Dubious deviations regarding misuse of
    unauthorized constructions were pointed out. “Unauthorized constructions”
    were being raised in unauthorized colonies on the “public land”. Details were
    given about “encroachment on the DDA land”.
    REPORT NO.129
  77. In Report No.129 dated 18.9.2018 report was furnished regarding
    illegal dairy running at Gokulpur, which was sealed but the seal was
    tampered.
    REPORT NO.131
  78. Report No.131 dated 8.10.2018 is related to the “contempt notice”
    issued by this Court to one of the Members of Parliament.
    REPORT NO.134
  79. Report No.134 was submitted concerning the “Motels/ Farm Houses”
    who have constructed “pandals, shamianas, sheds,” etc. in their plots. Order
    dated 12.10.2018 of this Court was also stated which is extracted
    hereunder:
    “…….As an interim measure, we direct that the basement of the
    premises in question shall remain sealed until further orders.
    Mr. Mukul Rohatgi, learned senior counsel appearing on behalf
    of the applicant says that no pandal will be constructed on the
    premises in question. In view of this undertaking, the seal on the
    premises may be opened. The Monitoring Committee as well as
    the South Delhi Municipal Corporation should give their report
    within ten days.
    The applicant may respond to these reports within four days
    thereafter.”
  80. Certain violations of MPD­2021 were also pointed out to be complied
    with by the concerned authorities.
    REPORT NO.144
    60
  81. Report No.144 dated 11.12.2018 is in respect of the “cases pending”
    before the “High Court of Delhi” regarding property situated at 22A, Janpath.
    The report was submitted regarding “change of the land” used for
    “residential purposes as commercial” and the residential premises were used
    to run a chemist shop. Similarly, other cases were also pointed out.
    Regarding the 20 Point Programme (TPP) certain “allotments” of plots were
    made for the “residential purpose” but they were being used for the
    “commercial activities”. Showrooms, Restaurants, Gyms, etc. were reported
    to be in operation on those plots. The report further states with respect to
    Singla Sweets (commercial) at Madhu Vihar and Vanasthali Public School,
    which were constructed on public and acquired land.
  82. The order dated 7.5.2019 was pointed out time and again by the
    learned counsel for the parties. On 7.5.219 this Court directed the
    Monitoring Committee as under:
    “Heard Mr. Ranjit Kumar, learned senior counsel and Amicus
    Curiae, and the learned senior counsel appearing on both the
    sides.
    I.A.No. 61593/2019 and 61594/2019
    A question has been raised whether the Committee has the
    jurisdiction to decide about the premises which have been
    erected for residential purposes only and are not being used for
    commercial purposes and the buildings have not been erected
    and used for industrial purposes. Question is also raised whether
    the Committee has been empowered to take care of unauthorised
    construction, when they are purely for residential purpose.
    We request the Committee to send its opinion whether in
    the past, it has exercised its power and jurisdiction where the
    premises are only constructed and are used as residential one and
    there is an allegation of raising unauthorised construction or
    some deviation has been made in the existing structure. We
    61
    request the Committee to furnish its considered opinion in this
    regard before this Court.

It was also submitted that as per the provisions contained
in Delhi Municipal Corporation Act, 1957 and Delhi
Development Act, 1957, notification was issued by the DDA on
22.03.2016. Chapter 1 contains the provision of regularisation.
Paragraph 2.27 is extracted hereunder :-
“2.27 Any building or part thereof constructed
unauthorisedly with or without obtaining the
Sanction/Completion Certificate communicated
thereof by a written intimation/undertaking can be
regularised, if the same is within the ambit of BBL
and MPD provisions by paying requisite fees and
charges as per Annexure IV.”
It was also submitted that the construction is in
accordance with the Master Plan and is in low density residential
area. Whether it is a case of deviation or wholly unauthorised
construction in view of the report of measurement, may also be
gone into by the Committee and thereafter, the matter may be
decided in an objective manner, whether it can be compounded
or not in accordance with the aforesaid provisions. Let the
Committee decide the matter afresh within 15 days of the receipt
of the report after hearing the concerned parties. Factual position
from SDM may also be ascertained as he has written letter dated
03.04.2019.
As prayed for by Mr. Abhimanyu Bhandari, learned
counsel, it is open to the applicants to maintain the horticulture
and watering of the plants etc.
For taking out the essential items etc., it is open to the
applicant to apply to the Committee.”
This Court directed the Monitoring Committee to give its considered
opinion specifically as to whether at any point in time in the past, it sealed
any residential premises, which were not misused for commercial purposes.
The Monitoring Committee kept silent on this aspect and did not cite even a
single such instance. Four orders referred to by the Monitoring Committee
neither deal with the question of the power of the Monitoring Committee, nor
they are relevant to the point in question.
62

  1. It is apparent from the various orders passed by this Court from time
    to time and from the various reports of the Monitoring Committee that it was
    never authorized by this Court to take action against the residential
    premises that were not being used for commercial purposes. It was
    appointed only to check the misuser of the residential properties for
    commercial purposes. After that, this Court directed that the Monitoring
    Committee should also look into the matter of “encroachment on the public
    land” and “unauthorized colonies” that have come up on the public land and
    were wholly unauthorized without sanction. At no point in time, this Court
    had empowered the Monitoring Committee to act vis­à­vis to the purely
    residential premises.
  2. The power of sealing of property carries civil consequences. A person
    can be deprived of the property by following a procedure in accordance with
    law. The Monitoring Committee is not authorized to take action concerning
    the residential premises situated on the private land. If there is unauthorized
    construction or in case of deviation, the requisite provisions are under the
    DMC Act, such as sections 343, 345, 347(A), 347(B). The mode of action
    and adjudication under the Act is provided including appellate provisions
    and that of the Tribunal. It would not be appropriate to the Monitoring
    Committee to usurp statutory powers and act beyond authority conferred
    upon it by the Court. The Monitoring Committee could not have sealed the
    residential premises, which were not misused for the commercial purpose as
    done vide Report No.149, nor it could have directed the demolition of those
    residential properties.
    63
  3. Article 300A of the Constitution provides that nobody can be deprived
    of the property and right of residence otherwise in the manner prescribed by
    law. When the statute prescribes a mode, the property’s deprivation cannot
    be done in other modes since this Court did not authorize the Committee to
    take action in the matter. An action could have been taken in no other
    manner except in accordance with the procedure prescribed by law as laid
    down in the decisions referred to at the Bar thus:
    (a) State of Rajasthan v. Basant Nahata, (2005) 12 SCC 77, wherein this
    Court observed:
    “59. ….In absence of any substantive provisions contained in
    a parliamentary or legislative act, he cannot be refrained from
    dealing with his property in any manner he likes. Such statutory
    interdict would be opposed to one’s right of property as
    envisaged under Article 300-A of the Constitution.”
    (b) K.T. Plantation Pvt. Ltd v. State of Karnataka (2011) 9 SCC 1 in which
    it was opined:
    “168. Article 300-A proclaims that no person can be deprived
    of his property save by authority of law, meaning thereby that a
    person cannot be deprived of his property merely by an
    executive fiat, without any specific legal authority or without the
    support of law made by a competent legislature. The expression
    “property” in Article 300-A confined not to land alone, it
    includes intangibles like copyrights and other intellectual
    property and embraces every possible interest recognised by law.
  4. This Court in State of W.B. v. Vishnunarayan and
    Associates (P) Ltd.6
    , while examining the provisions of the West
    Bengal Great Eastern Hotel (Acquisition of Undertaking) Act,
    1980, held in the context of Article 300-A that the State or
    executive officers cannot interfere with the right of others unless
    they can point out the specific provisions of law which
    authorises their rights.”
    (emphasis supplied)
    6
    (2002) 4 SCC 134
    64
    (c) In T. Vijayalakshmi v. Town Planning Member, (2006) 8 SCC 502, the
    Court observed:
    “13. Town Planning legislations are regulatory in nature. The
    right to property of a person would include a right to construct a
    building. Such a right, however, can be restricted by reason of a
    legislation. In terms of the provisions of the Karnataka Town and
    Country Planning Act, a comprehensive development plan was
    prepared. It indisputably is still in force. Whether the
    amendments to the said comprehensive development plan as
    proposed by the Authority would ultimately be accepted by the
    State or not is uncertain. It is yet to apply its mind. Amendments
    to a development plan must conform to the provisions of the Act.
    As noticed hereinbefore, the State has called for objection from
    the citizens. Ecological balance no doubt is required to be
    maintained and the courts while interpreting a statute should
    bestow serious consideration in this behalf, but ecological
    aspects, it is trite, are ordinarily a part of the town planning
    legislation. If in the legislation itself or in the statute governing
    the field, ecological aspects have not been taken into
    consideration keeping in view the future need, the State and the
    Authority must take the blame therefor. We must assume that
    these aspects of the matter were taken into consideration by the
    Authority and the State. But the rights of the parties cannot be
    intermeddled with so long as an appropriate amendment in the
    legislation is not brought into force.

  1. The law in this behalf is explicit. Right of a person to
    construct residential houses in the residential area is a valuable
    right. The said right can only be regulated in terms of a
    regulatory statute but unless there exists a clear provision the
    same cannot be taken away. ….”
    (emphasis supplied)
    (d) In the matter of State of U.P. v. Manohar (2005) 2 SCC 126, this Court
    observed:
    “7. Ours is a constitutional democracy and the rights available to
    the citizens are declared by the Constitution. Although Article
    19(1)(f) was deleted by the Forty-fourth Amendment to the
    Constitution, Article 300-A has been placed in the Constitution,
    which reads as follows:
    65
    “300-A. Persons not to be deprived of property save by
    authority of law.—No person shall be deprived of his
    property save by authority of law.”
  2. This is a case where we find utter lack of legal authority for
    deprivation of the respondent’s property by the appellants who
    are State authorities. …”
    (e) In Delhi Airtech Services (P) Ltd. & Anr. v. State of U.P. & Anr. (2011) 9
    SCC 354, this Court held:
    “83. The expression “law” which figures both in Article 21 and
    Article 300-A must be given the same meaning. In both the cases
    the law would mean a validly enacted law. In order to be valid
    law it must be just, fair and reasonable having regard to the
    requirement of Articles 14 and 21 as explained in Maneka
    Gandhi. This is especially so, as “law” in both the Articles 21
    and 300-A is meant to prevent deprivation of rights. Insofar as
    Article 21 is concerned, it is a fundamental right whereas in
    Article 300-A it is a constitutional right which has been given a
    status of a basic human right.”
    (f) It was further argued that planning laws are expropriatory and should
    be strictly construed, and any ambiguity is to be construed in favour of the
    property owner as laid down in Delhi Airtech Services (P) Ltd.v. & Anr. v. State
    of U.P. & Anr. (supra) thus:
    “129. Statutes which encroach upon rights, whether as regards
    person or property, are subject to strict construction in the same
    way as penal Acts. It is a recognised rule that they should be
    interpreted, if possible, so as to respect such rights and if there is
    any ambiguity, the construction which is in favour of the
    freedom of the individual should be adopted. (See Maxwell on
    The Interpretation of Statutes, 12th Edn. by P. St. J. Langan.)
  3. This Court in Devinder Singh7
    held that the Land
    Acquisition Act is an expropriatory legislation and followed the
    case of Hindustan Petroleum Corpn. v. Darius Shapur Chenai8
    .
    Therefore, it should be construed strictly. The Court has also
    7
    (2008) 1 SCC 728
    8
    (2005) 7 SCC 627
    66
    taken the view that even in cases of directory requirements,
    substantial compliance with such provision would be necessary.”
    (emphasis supplied)
    (g) In Ramchandra Ravindra Waghmare v. Indore Municipal Corporation,
    (2017) 1 SCC 667, it was opined:
    “67. It was also submitted that town planning and municipal
    institutes are regulating and restricting the use of private
    property under the aforesaid Acts. They are “expropriatory
    legislation”. Thus they are liable to be construed strictly as laid
    down in Indore Vikas Pradhikaran v. Pure Industrial Coke &
    Chemicals Ltd.9

    (h) In Chairman, Indore Vikas Pradhikaran v. Pure Industrial Coke &
    Chemicals Ltd. & Ors., (2007) 8 SCC 705, it was held:
    “ 57. The Act being regulatory in nature as by reason thereof the
    right of an owner of property to use and develop stands
    restricted, requires strict construction. An owner of land
    ordinarily would be entitled to use or develop the same for any
    purpose unless there exists certain regulation in a statute or
    statutory rules. Regulations contained in such statute must be
    interpreted in such a manner so as to least interfere with the right
    to property of the owner of such land. Restrictions are made in
    larger public interest. Such restrictions, indisputably must be
    reasonable ones. (See Balram Kumawat v. Union of India10;
    Krishi Utpadan Mandi Samiti v. Pilibhit Pantnagar Beej Ltd.11
    and Union of India v. West Coast Paper Mills Ltd.12) The
    statutory scheme contemplates that a person and owner of land
    should not ordinarily be deprived from the user thereof by way
    of reservation or designation.
  4. Expropriatory legislation, as is well-known, must be given a
    strict construction.”
    (i) In State of Gujarat v. Shantilal Mangaldas & Ors., (1969) 1 SCC 509, it
    was held:
    “55. …… Once the draft town-planning scheme is sanctioned,
    the land becomes subject to the provisions of the Town Planning
    9
    Indore Vikas Pradhikaran v. Pure Industrial Coke & Chemicals Ltd. & Ors.(2007) 8 SCC 705.
    10 (2003) 7 SCC 628
    11 (2004) 1 SCC 391
    12 (2004) 2 SCC 747
    67
    Act, and on the final town-planning scheme being sanctioned, by
    statutory operation the title of the various owners is readjusted
    and the lands needed for a public purpose vest in the local
    authority. Land required for any of the purposes of a town
    planning scheme cannot be acquired otherwise than under the
    Act, for it is a settled rule of interpretation of statutes that when
    power is given under a statute to do a certain thing in a certain
    way the thing must be done in that way or not at all:”
    (emphasis supplied)
    (j) In Bhavnagar University v. Palitana Sugar Mill (P) Ltd., (2003) 2 SCC
    111, it was opined:
    “40. The statutory interdict of use and enjoyment of the property
    must be strictly construed. It is well settled that when a statutory
    authority is required to do a thing in a particular manner, the
    same must be done in that manner or not at all. The State and
    other authorities while acting under the said Act are only creature
    of statute. They must act within the four corners thereof.”
    (emphasis supplied)
    (k) In Shrirampur Municipal Council v. Satyabhamabai Bhimaji Dawkher
    (2013) 5 SCC 627 it was held:
    “43. …… This is the reason why time-limit of ten years has been
    prescribed in Section 31(5) and also under Sections 126 and 127
    of the 1966 Act for the acquisition of land, with a stipulation that
    if the land is not acquired within six months of the service of
    notice under Section 127 or steps are not commenced for
    acquisition, reservation of the land will be deemed to have
    lapsed. Shri Naphade’s interpretation of the scheme of Sections
    126 and 127, if accepted, will lead to absurd results and the
    landowners will be deprived of their right to use the property for
    an indefinite period without being paid compensation. That
    would tantamount to depriving the citizens of their property
    without the sanction of law and would result in violation of
    Article 300-A of the Constitution.”
    (emphasis supplied)
  5. It is quite apparent that particularly when the Monitoring Committee
    is not empowered to take action, the incumbents could not have been
    deprived of the due process of protection in accordance with law. As against
    68
    the action of the Monitoring Committee, no appeal lies elsewhere. Even High
    Court is not authorized to entertain any matter and scrutinize its action,
    such is the drastic step taken by this Court by way of an exceptional
    measure in public interest, and it is confined to the misuse of residential
    property for commercial purpose and encroachments and unauthorized
    construction on the public land, roads.
  6. After going through the report of the Monitoring Committee and other
    reports which have been relied upon by the Amicus Curiae, there is no
    scintilla of doubt that the Monitoring Committee in the past at any point of
    time did not seal any residential premises being used for residential
    purposes, situated on the private land nor it could have ordered demolition.
    The ‘caption’ of the various reports of Monitoring Committee i.e.
    “PRELIMINARY REPORT OF THE MONITORING COMMITTEE FOR SEALING
    OF COMMERCIAL ESTABLISHMENTS IN RESIDENTIAL PREMISES” makes
    it absolutely clear that Monitoring Committee did not entertain any doubt
    about the purpose for which it was constituted. Apart from that, it was
    authorized by subsequent orders to act with respect to unauthorized
    construction on the public land and roads that too, which violated the MPD2021.
  7. Learned Amicus Curiae raised the alternative submission that the
    Monitoring Committee acted bonafidely at the instance of the letter written
    by the Sub Divisional Magistrate. We are of the opinion that the Monitoring
    Committee could not have acted based on any such letter. It was not
    permissible for the Monitoring Committee to act in the matter. May be that
    69
    it acted under some confusion created by the letter. Be that as it may. We
    do not want to go further into the matter of bona fide. However, it is
    apparent that its action was beyond the purpose for which it had been
    appointed.
  8. We are not going into the merits of the other submissions, whether the
    premises are authorized or unauthorized, can be regularized or not,
    compounding can be done, or whether there is any deviation made. The
    report of the Monitoring Committee and findings recorded by it are of no use
    as it had no such authority to go into the various questions. This Court did
    not appoint the Monitoring Committee concerning each and every residential
    building on private land not misused for commercial purposes and to deal
    with the same. In the present matter, this Court itself is monitoring the
    matter for a limited public purpose. It has not taken away the powers of
    statutory authorities under the Act concerning other matters except specified
    in the order.
  9. Since we have considered only the ambit of powers of the Monitoring
    Committee, we have not touched with the submissions which were not
    relevant to decide, as raised by Mr. Govardhan.
  10. We quash Report No.149 and other reports submitted subsequently in
    connection with Report No.149 and entire action of sealing pursuant thereto.
    We also quash notices issued directing demolition where the matter was
    being heard by this Court and the Monitoring Committee had no power to
    look into the matter and to take any action. Let the property sealed as per
    70
    Report No.149 be de­sealed, and possession be restored to the owners
    forthwith. Let this order be complied with within three days. However, we
    clarify that this order does not at all mean to belittle the yeomen service
    done by the Monitoring Committee for protection of Delhi. We also place on
    record our deep appreciation for the selfless service done by Shri Ranjit
    Kumar, Amicus Curiae, for the last 24 years, with unflinching hard work
    and dedication along with his team of other Amicus in the matter.
    Issue notice in IA No.64993 of 2020.
    …………………………….J.
    [ ARUN MISHRA ]
    …………………………….J.
    [ B.R. GAVAI ]
    …………………………….J.
    [ KRISHNA MURARI ]
    NEW DELHI;
    AUGUST 14, 2020.