No third floor on existing buildings in New Delhi: SC
New Delhi, May 07, 2007
In a significant move, the Supreme Court on Monday temporarily stayed construction of an additional third floor on the existing three-storied private buildings and ordered closure of residential premises storing gas cylinders and dangerous chemicals all over Delhi, including those in Lutyen's Bungalow Zone.
In a major development related to the sealing drive in the Capital, the Supreme Court scrutinising the controversial Master Plan of Delhi today put a blanket ban on the construction of third floor in private residential colonies and restored the earlier position of permitting houses with two-and-a-half floors besides the basement in these localities.

While adjudicating the issue of closure of residential premises being misused for commercial purposes, a three-judge bench restrained Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) from giving fresh permission for a third floor till final examination of the feasibility and legality of the Delhi Master Plan-2021 as also the legality of Delhi Law (Special Provisions) Act, 2006 and two notifications dated September 7 and 15.

Masterplan-2021 increased the maximum height of a residential building from 12 metres to 15 metres, and allowed houses on plots of sizes between 50 and 250 square meters to have four floors (ground plus three additional floors to a maximum height of 15 metres).

The notifications had permitted commercial activities on a total of 2,183 roads in Delhi.

The bench of Justice Arijit Pasayat, Justice CK Thakkar and Justice DK Jain also deferred closer scrutiny of the master plan, the special law and the two notifications to July 23.

During hearing of the matter, amicus curiae Ranjit Kumar pointed out that the government in its master plan itself has envisaged that it would not allow storage of gas cylinders and other dangerous chemicals in the residential areas.

The submission prompted the bench to order closure of premises, storing gas cylinders and other chemicals in residential areas.

Kumar also pointed out that sealing operation mandated by it was often affected owing to some confusion as to who exactly was the land owning authority in certain areas of New Delhi - MCD or Delhi Development Authority (DDA).

At this the court ordered representatives from both the MCD and the DDA to be present during the sealing operations.

During the hearing, some traders mentioned that their premises had been sealed despite having protection from the two government notifications or the new master plan.

The court fixed May 14 to hear such complaints.

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