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HC seeks response from DDA on plea over insufficient time for suggestions, objections for Delhi Master Plan 2041

ANI | Updated: Jul 23, 2021 15:11 IST

New Delhi [India], July 23 (ANI): The Delhi High Court on Friday sought a response from Delhi Development Authority (DDA) on a petition challenging its notification by which 45 days is provided to the residents of Delhi for filing suggestions and objections to the Delhi Master Plan 2041.
The petitioner, the National Hawker Federation through Advocate Anuradha Singh sought the court's direction to quash and set aside the public notification dated June 9 issued by DDA as it ultra vires of the Delhi Development (Master Plan and Zonal Development Plan) Rules, 1959 and Article 14 & 21 of the Constitution of India.
The plea also sought direction from DDA to provide 90 days for filing suggestions, objections to the Delhi Master Plan as per rule.
The bench of Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh on Friday after taking notice of the submission made by Advocate Anuradha Singh issued notice to the DDA and slated the matter for August 31 for further hearing.
Meanwhile, the court refused to put a stay on the notification as prayed by the petitioner's counsel.
The plea stated that the notification is ultra vires as it violates rule 5(1) (b) of the Delhi Development Rules, 1959, which specifically provides 90 days for submitting suggestions and objections to the Master Plan. It is also ultra vires Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution of India. It is stated that 45 days is not sufficient to file objections by various stakeholders in view of the ongoing pandemic.
Further, DDA disclosed the baseline data of the Master Plan only eight days before the expiration of the deadline, therefore residents did not have full access to the information, and hence the entire procedure is vitiated on account of non-disclosure of the required information, the plea said.

Delhi is expected to record a population in the range of 28-30 million by the year 2041. To meet their requirements and to resolve numerous problems plaguing the city, the fourth master plan for Delhi (MPD) is being prepared. This plan will also provide policy proposals for overcoming various problems existing in the city, the plea stated.
There are many reasons why the master plan is critical as it is supposed to be a holistic document addressing the different issues that are plaguing Delhi - like pollution, increasing vehicular traffic, lack of affordable housing, lack of improvement in unauthorized colonies, slums, health care and depleting natural resources, the plea further stated.
The petition also mentioned that the master plan impacts everyone's life and plays a critical role in the development of the city as a world-class city. But the last plans have not been implemented well.
The lack of implementation can be related to the top-down nature of the master plans and their imagination far from the lived reality of people in the city that leads to many hurdles in the implementation of the plans and as well as the undue delays.
The lack of confidence of the public, especially the urban poor and marginal workers, with respect to the plan is clear as many old slum clusters that have a right to housing are never shown in the plans and there is also a clear absence of inclusion of informal workers and livelihoods.
The biggest telling example of how our past master plan has failed is the COVID pandemic and migrant workers walking back, showing how they are living in rent without any state support.
There was no emergency planning, lack of local health amenities, and other glaring gaps visible in planning for Delhi. The Master plan document and attached land use map is critical for envisioning the city's upcoming 20 years, the plea stated. (ANI)