Modern India: Equality in Status Needed in Judicial Systemby Opinion Express April 6, 2018 0 comments
Politicians in National Capital, Delhi, are attacking the rich community to take stringent policy decisions, judiciary is following the legal action.
The sealing being undertaken by the oddly-named Environmental Pollution Control Agency is a smart move to rein in the rampant zoning violations that have been taking place in the national capital for the past three decades. The crackdown on zoning laws is a first for an Indian city and for that the Supreme Court has to be commended, particularly as they have refused to give relief to traders who have violated laws for years on end. The Supreme Court judges looking after this case have correctly observed that short-term relief given by the authorities two decades ago was perpetually extended. This coupled with the rampant land-grabbing and construction of illegal colonies is a smack on the face of urban planning, Delhi, like any other major Indian city with the notable exception of Chandigarh is an urban mess.
While the EPCA would have been correct to consider the fact that the city has grown, the traders demand for a Central Ordinance to legalise their wrongs forgets the fact ordinances can’t be passed during a Parliamentary session no matter how useless. The Supreme Court has now decided to act against illegal operations in residential areas, which have seen rampant commercialisation particularly over the past decade. This despite the creation of millions of square feet of new commercial zones in the city, as people turned their homes into showrooms and offices creating a traffic nightmare in some upscale areas. The Court mention of the deadly fire in Mumbai thanks to illegal construction at a bar is noteworthy. Until today, no sealing action has taken into account the rampant violation of fire-safety norms across New Delhi. Some of the city’s toniest areas like Khan Market and Hauz Khas Village are veritable fire traps, something that most patrons recognise. Several office buildings violate fire-safety norms.
The fact is that India and Indians always have a way around rules and regulations, we even celebrate it by calling it ‘Jugaad’. The problem in India is not of a lack of laws and rules, but a lack of enforcement. The Supreme Court and the EPCA are just enforcing the laws and people are crying. Yes, the rules should keep up with the times, and on that front there has been a failure of governance for decades on end, and even the judiciary by refusing to act for years has to share some of the blame. But if India is to become a modern country it have to become a law-abiding nation, and yes, the laws should apply equally to the rich and poor. But, while sparing the poor for now, the Supreme Court must indicate that the free lunch of breaking rules is over for everyone.
Courtesy: The Pioneer