NHRC holds demolition of a building without prior notice by the South MCD against the law: Asks Delhi Government to pay Rs.2 lakh to the owner


New Delhi: 23rd January, 2014

Setting aside the contention of the South Delhi Municipal Corporation that it could remove any unauthorized construction without prior notice, the National Human Rights Commission, citing provisions in the amended Manual of Instructions on Unauthorized Constructions, has recommended to the Government of NCT of Delhi, through its Chief Secretary that it pay Rs.2 lakh as monetary relief to the owner of the building, which was demolished against the law. A compliance report along with proof of payment has also been sought within six weeks.
The Commission, in its recommendatory order, has also said that the owner of the building, who is the complainant in the matter, may take recourse to any other legal proceedings for recovering any other compensation, and in case any such compensation is awarded by any other authority, the compensation granted by the Commission may also be taken into consideration.
The Commission took up the case on the basis of a complaint filed by the owner of the building alleging that on the 17th December, 2011, when he was away with his family, he got a call from a relative that his house, located in Village Hastsal, Uttam Nagar, New Delhi, was being demolished by the authorities. He had received no prior notice about this action.
On consideration of the material on record, placed by the concerned MCD authorities, in response to its notices, the Commission found that at no stage the MCD authorities carried out survey of illegal construction and the complainant's house was not included in the list of unauthorized buildings on the date of its demolition.
Moreover, the owner of the house was not given any prior notice, which is against the amended Manual of Instructions on Unauthorized Constructions (Letter No. D/33/SE(B) HQ II/10 dated 09.6.2010), Municipal Corporation of Delhi, Commissioner's Office.
Quoting the provisions of this Manual, the Commission has observed that action in the given chronological order is required to be taken meticulously and a list of instructions is given which are to be followed prior to demolition of an unauthorized construction including show cause notices U/s 344(1) and 343. In pare viii, it is specifically mentioned that "After expiry of the period of Show Cause Notice served upon the owner/builder/occupier, Assistant Engineer will pass a speaking order for demotion of unauthorized construction U/s 343". The Commission also observed that the South MCD could have removed without notice the under construction balcony which had collapsed. However, demolition of other projections could not have been removed without a prior notice. This violation of law has certainly caused the complainant and his family mental trauma as well as loss of property and valuables. Hence a case of breach of human rights was made out.