HC: Illegal registration a way of life
Plea Alleges Bribes Taken To ‘Help’ Commercial Properties
New Delhi: Illegal registration of properties is under the glare of the Delhi high court that has slammed the civic agencies for allowing it to occur as a “way of life” in the capital.
A bench of acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar earlier this week demanded an explanation from all authorities concerned on why they have not yet taken any strict action to curb the malaise.
The observation and directive came during the hearing of a PIL alleging rampant corruption in the offices where properties are registered. “Is it not a way of life here,” the bench asked when the issue of illegal registration of commercial properties as residential ones was raised before it in the plea by a lawyer, who also sought a CBI or SIT probe into the matter.
The court then proceeded to issue notices to the Delhi government, including its revenue, service and vigilance departments, the anti-corruption branch (ACB), CBI and the controller of accounts, seeking their stand on the allegations made in the petition.
The bench also directed the office of the lieutenant governor to file a separate status report on the registration of transactions in relation to transfer of immovable properties taking place in the jurisdiction of the sub-registrar’s office mentioned in the petition and listed the matter for hearing on March 7.
The petitioner referred to a specific sub-registrar office in Old Delhi and alleged that the official there was accepting bribes to register commercial properties as residential ones, leading to a “huge loss of revenue” to the state exchequer.
He also alleged that such practices were probably prevalent in all sub-registrar offices in Delhi, given the brazen manner in which the official he met was demanding and receiving bribes for this work. The petitioner claimed that despite several representations and complaints made against the alleged illegal activity, no action was taken, forcing him to approach the court.
Urging the court to intervene, the petitioner sought strict actions against the official concerned and directions to CBI to investigate the largescale corruption so that common people don’t suffer.