Upholding Protection for Unauthorised Colonies in Delhi: Parliament’s Recent Bill

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December 21, 2023

Upholding Protection for Unauthorised Colonies in Delhi: Parliament’s Recent Bill

Parliament passes bill to regularise unauthorised colonies in Delhi - The  Economic Times

Tracing the Law’s Evolution

  • The recent passage of The National Capital Territory of Delhi Laws (Special Provisions) Second (Amendment) Bill, 2023 in both Houses of Parliament marks another extension in safeguarding unauthorised colonies in Delhi. This measure shields nearly 40 lakh residents from punitive actions like demolitions or sealing, a move deemed crucial by Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Puri to prevent “inhumane” consequences.
  • The law’s origins lie in the 2006 sealing drive by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi against unauthorised constructions in 1,731 colonies. To counter this, the UPA government enacted The Delhi Laws (Special Provisions) Act, 2006, initially providing a year of protection. Subsequent extensions, culminating in the 2011 Act, extended the safeguarding period until December 31, 2014.
  • Since then, amendments by the NDA government have elongated this protection in three-year increments.

Specifics of the Latest Amendment

  • The recent amendment extends protection until December 31, 2026, replacing the prior cutoff of 2023. It encompasses unauthorised constructions up to June 1, 2014.
  • Outlined in the Act’s statement of objects and reasons, it emphasizes organized arrangements for relocating and rehabilitating residents from unauthorised clusters and colonies, aligning with the 2011 Act’s provisions.
  • Acknowledging efforts to confer ownership rights initiated by The NCT of Delhi (Recognition of Property Rights of Residents in Unauthorised Colonies) Act, 2019, the amendment highlights development control norms notified in March 2022, emphasizing ongoing processes of conferring ownership rights and adherence to Development Control Norms.

Future Trajectory

  • Despite extensions, questions linger about continuity and the potential for another extension in 2026. Minister Hardeep Puri attributed delays in conferring ownership rights, initiated in 2019, to disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • With an estimated 40-50 lakh individuals in unauthorised colonies, only a fraction have been registered, with conveyance deeds issued in a limited number of cases. The Minister stressed the need for substantial progress, citing only 20,881 conveyance deeds issued out of potentially 8-10 lakh eligible households.
  • Additionally, the final stages of the draft Master Plan Delhi-2041, encompassing development norms, are underway. Once approved and notified, this plan is expected to provide crucial guidance for these areas.
  • The road ahead demands expediting ownership rights while awaiting directives from the impending Master Plan Delhi-2041, navigating complexities to secure the future of these regions.

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