New Delhi, Dec 20 – The Parliament on Tuesday passed the National Capital Territory of Delhi Laws (Special Provisions) Second (Amendment) Bill, 2023 with Rajya Sabha clearing the legislation by voice vote after brief discussion.
The Bill seeks to extend the validity of a central Act for three years beyond December 31, 2023 to protect unauthorised development and encroachment in the Union Territory of Delhi from punitive action.
The Lok Sabha had earlier passed the Bill.
As per the objects and reasons of the Bill, the Delhi Laws (Special Provisions) Act, 2006 was enacted on May 19, 2006, initially for a period of one year, to protect certain forms of unauthorised developments in Delhi from punitive action. This protection to various forms of unauthorised developments in Delhi has continued thereafter.
In 2011, a comprehensive legislation, namely, the National Capital Territory of Delhi Laws (Special Provisions) Second Act, 2011, was enacted which was valid for a period of three years upto 31st December, 2014. The validity of this Act has been extended from time to time and the current validity is upto 31st December, 2023.
“The National Capital Territory of Delhi Laws (Special Provisions) Second (Amendment) Bill, 2023 seeks to provide extension of the validity of the said Act for a period of three years from 1st January, 2024 to 31st December, 2026,” states the objects and reasons of the Bill.
Replying to the discussion on the Bill, Housing & Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep S Puri said that the previous Congress government and now the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government failed to address the problem and as a result the problem of the unauthorised settlements have continued in the national capital.
“I think the Bill which is before the House has both a historical context and is living testimony, if any were required, what happens to a great city if it is allowed to be subjected to neglect, and I choose my words carefully”.
He said it was ” neglect bordering on the criminal”.
According to the Minister, Delhi’s problems lay in the huge increase in its population from 7-8 lakhs in 1947 to close to 2.5 crores now. “And the problems were visible even 20 years ago. It is the then Congress government which in 2006 facing action from the Hon’ble Delhi High court and the Apex court decided to bring in legislation to provide protection for one year because this problem should have been attended to in 2006 and earlier,” the Minister said.
“Because the problem of large demographic shifts, large number of people coming from rural, semi-urban, Tier II and Tier III cities to Delhi has been evident for so many years but the problem should have been addressed by Delhi government in 2006 and earlier and hence one-year legislation was coming from 2006 to 2011,” he further said.
He, however, hoped that the problem of various forms of unauthorised developments would be addressed sooner than later.