• DDA to take action against those responsible for missing files from offices

    June 20, 2016

    It was not long ago that the common man had to hunt for papers relating to his home, pension or any other such matter at 100 different DDA offices, only to find the paper declared "lost" and no action taken to find it.

    The harassment that the common man has to face will be cut down, thanks to some court orders issued in a two-decades-year old land dispute case.

    Documents regarding the case had gone missing from DDA office almost 30 years ago, but the authority failed to take any action.
    After repeated admonishing from the court in this regard, the DDA has now issued a set of directions to its employees, saying strict action will be taken against staff responsible in such cases. The authority has assured the court that it will be more careful to ensure files are not lost/misplaced and will make it a "standard practice" to initiate an inquiry in such matters, lodge FIRs to fix accountability and reconstruct files in missing cases. In this matter too, the DDA has lodged an FIR against unknown persons in the authority for the alleged offence of criminal breach of trust under Section 409 of IPC, saying public servants owe a duty to public and the department to safeguard the records.

    The case pertains to a 208 square yards plot in M-block, Saket, which was allotted to then parliamentarian Swami Ramanand under the MP quota in 1971. Ramanand passed away on September 28, 1972 and as he did not have any children and he had executed an unregistered will, the plot was subsequently transferred to one Harish Chand, one of his disciples. Chand also passed away in 1992 and then his son applied to DDA for transfer of the plot to him, saying he was the legal heir of Chand.

    Meanwhile, one Ashok Anand, who is a respondent in this civil suit, also laid claim to the plot, challenging the unregistered will of Ramanand. Soon, the matter reached court and DDA was made a party in the case. One Suresh, to whom the plot was allegedly sold by Ashokanand, also moved court after DDA denied him possession of the plot, saying Ashokanand's rights over the plot was itself disputable. The matter is still pending in court. DDA told the court that the plot was non-transferable and that it had cancelled the allotment of the plot in August, 1993.
    When additional district judge (ADJ) Kamini Lau found that all procedures had not been followed by DDA before it cancelled the lease, DDA told the judge that the main file of the case went missing in 1986 and the lease was cancelled on the basis of a party-created record. The court was shocked to know this and it observed that if this is the case, cancellation of allotment was not based on records. It reprimanded the civic body for "deliberately" withholding from the court records related to the cancellation proceedings. It also expressed displeasure over the fact that DDA had taken no action regarding the record that went missing.

    Lau reprimanded a senior DDA officer, who had appeared in court, after she found that the authority had neither conducted any departmental inquiry nor did it register an FIR. Following the court's directions, DDA vice-chairman Arun Goel issued a detailed order in this regard on how accountability is to be fixed if case files go missing.


    Off late, the DDA has been taking steps to ensure that transparency is increased and the trust with the people of Delhi is restored. Although the road might be a weary and long one, full marks should be given to DDA for the amount of work it has been doing. If this is to be a sustained state of condition or not is left  to be seen. But these small steps will surely catapult the reputation of the DDA a great deal. After all, a journey of a thousand miles starts with one small step.

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