New Delhi, Oct 31 (PTI) The Delhi High Court today came down heavily on the authorities here over encroachments on public land, saying it was a “sordid state of affairs” and asking whether only law-breakers were being protected.Also Read - Breaking News Highlights: 4 NDRF Teams Deployed in Tamil Nadu as IMD Issues Alert of Cyclonic Circulation

It also warned that the government officials who were dealing with these cases should be sent to jail. Also Read - Delhi Unlocks Further as Kejriwal Allows Academic Meets in Schools, Colleges With Restrictions | Check Guidelines

“Is there nobody who will come and say that he follows the law? Are we only protecting the law breakers? Where are the law abiding citizens,” the court said expressing anguish over encroachments in North Delhi’s Timarpur area. Also Read - Coronavirus in India 26 April 2021 Highlights: Situation in India Beyond Heartbreaking, Says WHO Chief

“Is this how you (government) treat public land? It is a very serious matter. Can we allow public land to go like this.

Its taxpayers money which goes into these lands.

“The facts of this case show a sordid state of affairs regarding the manner in which public land and property is permitted to be trespassed and encroached upon,” a bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar said.

During the hearing, the court said the government officials dealing with these cases should be sent to jail as it was a criminal offence.

It “pains the judicial conscience … There is no concern for public property worth crores of rupees,” it said.

The court was hearing a petition seeking direction to the Centre and Delhi Government to remove encroachment on a land of 30,000 square yards, now popularly known as Sanjay Basti in Timarpur.

The plea also sought direction to secure the land on which the Urban Development Ministry could construct flats for government servants.

The bench directed that the matter be placed before the secretary of Ministry of Urban Development who shall look into it and file a report and listed the matter for December 6.

The plea said that initially, some quarters were built by the central government for class IV employees which were declared unsafe in 1978-80 and directed to be demolished by the Central Public Works Department (CPWD).

It alleged that the demolition work was given to a private builder which demolished parts of the flats and left the remaining flats, allowing them to be occupied by encroachers.

The encroachers allegedly rebuilt the government quarters and the land mafia was selling the flats or giving them on rent to poor people.

The court also said the authorities have failed to disclose what action has been taken against the builder who was assigned the work of demolition and against the government officials.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.