Appellant: If the SDMC is not implementing the directions of STF, some actions should be taken against them - CIC: Re-examine the RTI application; Principal Commissioner (Housing) DDA, to consider the case of the Appellant and take corrective action
O R D E R
The Appellant vide his RTI application sought information on points, as under:-
1) Process and hierarchical flow for disposal of DDA STF complaints
2) Is there any indicative time frame established in the form of a Standard Operating
3) Procedure or SOP for cognizance and action on DDA STF complaints If such an SOP does not exist what is the average time frame for cognizance and action on DDA STF complaints.
4) Information regarding escalation matrix in the event SOP if existing or average time frame is exceeded
5) Records of past one year viz from Dec 21 to Dec 22 The provisions of this Act shall have effect notwithstanding anything inconsistent therewith contained in the Official Secrets Act, 1923 (19 of 1923), and any other law for the time being in force or in any instrument having effect by virtue of any law other than this Act. bringing out the response time for STF complaints in VasantKunj Area
6) Action Taken Report with corroborative photographs in respect of DDA STF complaint 2020031440075 dt 14 Mar 20
The CPIO, Delhi Development Authority, vide letter dated 11.01.2023 furnished a reply to the Appellant. Dissatisfied with the reply received from the CPIO, the Appellant filed a First Appeal. The FAA vide order dated 06.02.2023 observed that the information has been furnished and upheld the reply of CPIO.
Thereafter, the Appellant filed a Second Appeal before the Commission.
Facts emerging during the hearing:
The following were present:
Appellant: Present in Person
Respondent: Mr. Fahad Shaheen AD STF, Present in Person
The Appellant while reiterating the contents of the RTI Application submitted that Action Taken Report sought with corroborative photographs in respect of DDA STF complaint 2020031440075. He said that the RTI Application pertains to the removal of illegal construction and encroachment on roof terrace by his neighbour. A body STF (Special Task Force) was constituted by the Hon’ble Supreme Court for removing unauthorized construction, he said and added that in this particular case no action has been taken by DDA despite many complaints and this matter is continuing for the past three to four years. He explained that when in year 2020 his neighbour actually started the unauthorised construction, he immediately reported the same and filed a complaint and later he reported the incident numerous times but no cognizance of the same was taken. This, he says, clearly indicates dereliction of duty on the part of the concerned STF officials, as they have chosen to hide and to provide misleading information.
The respondent contradicted the allegations and explained that that they have forwarded the complaint to the concerned official which is SDMC, who have further booked the said unauthorised construction for removing the said encroachment. He further stated that STF meetings are conducted in every 15 days and this particular matter was taken up after which they have also provided the Action Taken Report to the Appellant. He informed that they are only authorized to direct the SDMC and they are not responsible for removing the encroachment.
The appellant countered and said that an undated ATR has been furnished to him many a times which is of no value. Moreover the SDMC is not following the directions of the STF, he said and added that the STF therefore cannot get away with accountability as well as responsibility by stating that they had forwarded it to some other department. He raised the concern that if the SDMC is not implementing the directions of STF as per directives of the Hon’ble Supreme Court, some actions should be taken against them but no such initiative has been taken even by the STF, which indicates that they are working hand in glove.
Keeping in view the facts of the case and the submissions made by both the parties, the Commission observes that the mandate to the Special Task Force is given by the Apex court of India and therefore, it is responsible for preventing unauthorized construction by diligently monitoring and taking swift action to halt any such activity. Their duty is to maintain the integrity of zoning and building regulations, ensuring that all construction adheres to the proper authorization, procedures and safety standards. This proactive approach helps protect the community and the environment from potential risks associated with illegal or substandard construction. Further, the Commission observes that the basic objective of the Right to Information Act is to empower the citizens, promote transparency and accountability in the working of the Public Authorities, eradicate corruption, and to make our democracy work for the people in real sense. Therefore, the Commission directs the CPIO to re-examine the RTI application and furnish correct and detailed information to the Appellant, in accordance with the spirit of transparency and accountability as enshrined in the RTI Act, 2005 within a period of 30 days from the date of receipt of this order under the intimation to the Commission.
The Commission further observes that unauthorized construction poses a grave threat to both individuals and communities. It jeopardizes public safety, as these structures often lack adherence to safety standards, and it strains local infrastructure, leading to service disruptions. Such construction diminishes property values and disrupts community cohesion, leading to disputes among neighbours. It is essential therefore, to enforce legal compliance, raise awareness, and engage local authorities to prevent and address unauthorized construction, safeguarding public well-being and the harmony of communities. Therefore, the Commission advises the Principal Commissioner (Housing) DDA, to consider the case of the Appellant in the backdrop of the above facts and take corrective action, if required, thus adhering to the law of natural justice.
The Appeal stands disposed of accordingly.
Citation: Captain P. J. Ashish v. Delhi Development Authority, CIC/DDATY/A/2023/610212-UM; Date of Decision: 06.11.2023