OBJECTIVES, JURISDICTION & GUIDELINES
The historic city of Delhi has been the Capital of several kingdoms and empires through the ages. Its many magnificent monuments point to its glorious past.
Lutyen's New Delhi is considered to be one of the most beautiful planned garden city Capitals ever built. But after Independence, Delhi was forced to grow suddenly and enormously. This expansion was unfortunately haphazard and ill-planned.
Fortunately, before it was too late, the Government of India set-up a Planning Board to prepare a Master Plan of the Capital for an orderly growth and to maintain the character and quality of the city, thus preserving its heritage.
In 1962, the Delhi Master Plan was accepted by the Government for the future, development of Delhi. A planning and development authority known as the Delhi Development Authority was set-up under an Act for implementing the Master Plan.
In spite of the Delhi Master Plan and the Delhi Development Authority functioning for over a decade, we have hardly made any progress in making Delhi a better place to five and work in, in an aesthetic and functional sense. The Delhi Development Authority and the other two local bodies are essentially concerned with the preparation of two dimensional zonal development plans, land-use plans and enforcement of zonal and building bye-laws, mostly from a functional and engineering point of view.
While developing / redeveloping, maintaining and preserving various parts of the city, there has hardly been any emphasis on the quality of the physical environment and visual character of the city. The aesthetic and visual character of Delhi at least the better part of it leaves much to be desired. In fact certain beautiful areas have been ruined due to sheer negligence and indifference. The need for a high-powered Design Re-view Board/Commission to guide and control the aesthetic quality of urban and environmental design of the city and its cultural values has been felt for some time past.
1.1 With a view to preserving, developing and maintaining the aesthetic quality of urban and environmental design of Delhi the Government of India have established the Delhi Urban Art Commission under an Act of Parliamen4 namely the Delhi Urban Art Commission Ac4 1973 (1 of 1974). The Act has come into force with effect from 1" May, 1974.
1.2 Objectives of the Commission are
To promote those qualities in the environment which bring value to the community.
To foster the attractiveness and functional utility of the community as a place to live and work.
To preserve the character and quality of our heritage by maintaining the integrity of those areas which have a discernible character or are of special historical significance.
To protect certain public investments in the area.
To prevent bad design and encourage good.
To raise the level of Community expectations for the quality of its environment.
1.3 There are two main responsibilities of the Delhi Urban Art Commission:
To advise the Central Government in the matter of preserving, developing and maintaining the aesthetic quality of urban and environmental design of Delhi, and
To advise the local authorities in respect of any project of budding and engineering operation or any development proposal which affects or is likely to affect the aesthetic quality of the surroundings or any public amenity provided therein.
With regard to the functions in (i), the Commission may on its own initiative direct the local bodies and Government organisations to modify or remove any existing street furniture, additions and alterations made in historical monuments / features situated in public gardens, hoardings, sign / bill boards, fountains, etc., which in the opinion of the Commission, are objectionable either from aesthetic considerations or civic / functional design aspect. The Commission shall also advise the Central Government and local bodies on matters of aesthetic quality of urban and environmental design whenever specially referred to it. The Commission may also promote and secure the development / redevelopment or beautification of any area in Delhi in respect of which no proposals on that behalf have been received from any local body (Chapter In-Section 11(3) of the Act).
1.4 With regard to the functions at (ii) above, i.e. of advising the local bodies in respect of new projects, the Commission shall scrutinise, approve, reject or modify proposals in respect of building or engineering operations or development / redevelopment schemes which affect or are likely to affect the sky-line or the aesthetic quality of surroundings or any public amenity provided therein. Every local body is required, under the Act to refer to and seek the clearance of the Commission before according approval to any building / engineering operation and development proposal.
1.5 Sections 12,13,14 and 15 of Chapter III of the Act clearly spell out the duties of the local bodies - provision for appeal to the Central Government - power to revise decision by the Central Government and powers of the Commission.