The Delhi High Court had appointed a Commissioner to examine the legality of FAR construction at R.D. Apartments. In his report, the court-appointed Commissioner stated that the construction was happening in a totally unauthorized way. Court stopped FAR construction.
April 10, 2019
By Rakesh Raman
The decision of the Delhi High Court to stop floor area ratio (FAR) construction at R.D. Apartments of Dwarka has become a bitter pill to swallow for the Society residents.
Today, with partial construction, R.D. Apartments is in such a bad shape that it has become difficult for the residents to live in the building. Most want to sell off their flats in distress, but there are hardly any buyers who are ready to pay even half of the market price because R.D. Apartments has become a disputed property.
Similarly, tenants are not willing to live in the building. And there is no end to the misery of R.D. Apartments’ residents as court has stopped construction, and demolition in the building is expected, as FAR construction in occupied housing societies is an illegal activity.
In order to extort money for FAR construction, the managing committee (MC) members of R.D. Apartments had misled the Society members about a couple of years ago saying that the FAR project is legal. However, now it is a known fact that FAR construction in occupied cooperative group housing societies (CGHS) is a criminal offence.
Now, the criminal MC members who are planning FAR construction in their societies, have virtually become human bombs and taking all sorts of risks to start FAR construction because there is a lot of public money (corruption money) that they can swindle. These MC members who are planning FAR projects are operating like builders’ mafia.
Report of Court Commissioner
In an ongoing case [W.P.(C) 286/2018], the Delhi High Court has stopped FAR construction at R.D. Apartments (a CGHS) and the accused MC members are facing prosecution that may even lead to their imprisonment. It is observed that FAR construction with its extreme dust and noise pollution is affecting the entire city of Delhi and surrounding areas where millions of people live.
The court had appointed a Commissioner to examine the legality of FAR construction at R.D. Apartments. In his report, the court-appointed Commissioner stated that the construction was happening in a totally unauthorized way. Consequently, the court ordered to stop FAR construction and now presumably the already constructed structure will be demolished and the MC members as well as others who paid for the FAR project are expected to be penalized.
The Court Commissioner’s 49-page report also indicates that FAR construction will not be feasible in other housing societies because it violates many existing laws.
According to the Court Commissioner’s report, the irregularities in FAR construction include the fraudulent change in the size of balconies, construction of unplanned pillars / structures, risky concealment of gas pipelines, violation of fire safety norms by obstructing the movement of fire tenders, blockage of natural daylight, and many other violations.
The FAR construction is also illegal because it violates Article 21 of the Indian Constitution and breaks a number of other laws such as the Unified Building Bye Laws (UBBL), the Delhi Apartment Ownership Act, Delhi Fire Service Rules, National Building Code, Easementary Rights, and Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act. So, FAR construction cannot happen in any society where even one member is against it.
In some cases where the MC members are threatening residents to pay money, appointing construction companies fraudulently, planning FAR without taking explicit consent of all the members, and giving wrong information to members and authorities, FAR construction is a serious criminal offence for which MC members and their accomplices can face long jail terms.
Corrupt Government Officials
It is learnt that the corrupt MC members of housing societies are bribing government officials to get some conditional letters (which are not approvals) for illegal FAR projects. While massive corruption is happening in FAR cases, Delhi Development Authority (DDA), Registrar Cooperative Societies (RCS), Delhi Fire Service (DFS), and Delhi Urban Art Commission (DUAC) are among the most corrupt departments in Delhi that are allowing FAR construction.
As corruption is happening openly in DDA and RCS office, the government officers are frequently jailed in corruption cases. But corruption still persists.
When the residents who oppose FAR construction complain about it to these government officials (who are mostly bribed by MC members), they usually ignore the complaints and do not respond. And when they respond, their responses are so vague that they do not make any sense. As DDA officials are mostly corrupt, some of them have even been jailed for demanding bribe.
The corrupt government officials at DDA distort the government policies to accommodate corrupt MC members and give them some letters about FAR construction. The officials in other departments such as RCS, DFS, and DUAC blindly allow FAR projects because they are also part of the criminal racket.
With the aim to collect money worth crores of rupees, the criminal MC members falsely claim that the vague letters that they get from DDA, etc. are government approvals. With the help of these letters, they deceive the residents / members most of whom lack knowledge of the subject.
The MC members give false undertakings and wrong architectural information in DDA to take clearance for FAR projects. Since DDA officials are usually bribed by the MC members and project architects, DDA issues a vague conditional letter with 26 conditions, stating that:
“Any deviation done against the bye-laws is liable to be demolished and the supervising Architect, engaged on the job will run the risk of having his license cancelled.”
But the problem in this process is that you can report about the “deviation” only when the construction has started in your society – as the Court Commissioner reported in the case of R.D. Apartments.
Preparation for Legal Cases
Ideally, the administration – including government ministers and bureaucrats – should act and stop FAR construction because it’s clearly a criminal activity. However, since politicians and bureaucrats are corrupt and the administration in Delhi has completely collapsed, the aggrieved residents have no other option but to file their cases in courts.
But the option to go to the courts is quite difficult. Since most society members lack knowledge of the official complexities, they are not in a position to complain properly about the irregularities in FAR construction to get it stopped. They also fail to explain their cases to the lawyers while their correspondence with the authorities is also not complete.
Moreover, it is very difficult (almost impossible) to get a good lawyer because most lawyers in India are clueless about their own profession and they cannot even write correct court petitions in English language. Instead of studying and understanding the case, the lawyers simply copy and paste content from some old, irrelevant petitions to make your case which gets defeated in the court.
As I write the Legal Directions newsletter, I have interacted with nearly 20 lawyers during the past couple of years for different cases that come to me from across Delhi while I run the “Clean House” social service to help residents raise their voice against corruption and injustice in their housing societies. I found that most of the lawyers are dishonest and many do not understand law and the language.
As a result, many residents who oppose FAR construction do not get proper response to their petitions from the courts and in some cases the court has dismissed the petitions to stop FAR construction because the cases were not made properly.
Target All Criminals
In the given circumstances, the residents who want to get the FAR construction stopped in their societies must get their act together and work methodically to complete all the documentation before going to the court.
You should work collectively in a group and people in a society who can write properly should start writing their complaints against FAR. These complaints should go to the MC of your society as well as different government departments.
If FAR planning in your society is at an initial stage, you can send a show cause notice to your MC with your objections. You can click here to study a notice that I had recently sent to the MC of Seema CGHS in Dwarka, while the aggrieved residents of Seema CGHS met me to take my help.
As society MCs also come under the RTI Act, you should demand information from your MC and the government departments by sending RTI applications. You should plan to go to the court only after completing your documentation. It is a difficult and lengthy process.
If you file a simple court case to get FAR construction stopped in your society, chances are that you will lose the case. In order to make your case effective, you should also include criminal offences committed by your MC members, residents of your society who support FAR, and the government officials with whom you interact.
In your court petition and other correspondence, you must include maximum number of names of your MC members and their accomplices such as members who pay money for FAR and who support it in fraudulently conducted General Body Meetings (GBMs), architect firms, construction companies, and government officials.
Your petition should pray for maximum punishment for all these criminals including government officials. You can click here to study a similar case in which corrupt government officials and society members were jailed as the court ordered rigorous imprisonment for them.
As rampant corruption is happening in Delhi’s cooperative group housing societies, you can study this case in which the government officials and others were jailed. While most DDA officials do not work without taking bribe, some of them have even been jailed for demanding bribe. As corruption has become a norm in DDA, it is seen that DDA officers are frequently jailed in corruption cases.
You should also make similar cases if you want to get corruption and criminality around FAR projects stopped in your society. All your complaints and petitions should target government officials and MC members by name and include statutes of the Prevention of Corruption Act (PC Act) and Indian Penal Code (IPC) so that the culprits could be arrested and imprisoned.
In order to fully understand the criminality in FAR construction and extreme corruption in housing societies, you can study the case of DPS CGHS at the following link. You should plan to make a similar case which is arranged chronologically.
The DPS CHGS MC members have already been indicted and penalized by the courts in cases where they have broken the laws. As their frauds have not yet stopped, the accused DPS CHGS MC members are currently facing many other cases in different courts and government departments. Click the following link to study the DPS CGHS case.
By Rakesh Raman, who is a national award-winning journalist and social activist. He is the founder of a humanitarian organization RMN Foundation which is working in diverse areas to help the disadvantaged and distressed people in the society. He also creates and publishes a number of digital publications on different subjects.
About Me – Rakesh Raman
Rakesh Raman is a national award-winning journalist and social activist. Besides working at senior editorial positions with leading media companies, he was writing an exclusive edit-page column regularly for The Financial Express (a daily business newspaper of The Indian Express Group).
Nowadays, for the past about 8 years, he has been running his own global news services on different subjects. He also has formed a free Education and Career Counselling Center for deserving children at a poor J.J. Colony in Dwarka, New Delhi under his NGO – RMN Foundation.
He runs an exclusive community-driven anti-corruption social service “Clean House” to help the suffering residents of Delhi raise their voice against the growing corruption and injustice. He also has formed an environment-protection group called Green Group in Delhi.
He creates and distributes a number of digital publications that cover areas such as technology, law, environment, education, politics, corruption and transparency. He has created a comprehensive online information service to educate the Indian voters for the upcoming Lok Sabha election scheduled to happen in 2019.
Earlier, he had been associated with the United Nations (UN) through United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) as a digital media expert to help businesses use technology for brand marketing and business development.
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