The Supreme Court on Monday asked the central and Delhi governments not to make the sealing of unauthorised constructions in the city a “political issue”, PTI reported. The court asked authorities to look into fire safety, especially at schools, and the depletion of the groundwater table in the city.

The bench of Justices Madan Lokur and Deepak Gupta told the governments that the health of the citizens of Delhi was much more important than profits, and the problems needed to be dealt with in a holistic manner. The court was hearing arguments on the validity of the Delhi Laws (Special Provisions) Act, 2006, and other laws that protect unauthorised properties from being sealed in the city.

In the previous hearing on April 4, the court had criticised the central and Delhi governments as well as the civic bodies of the city for turning a blind eye to the unauthorised constructions in the Capital. It had blamed these illegal constructions for the lack of greenery in Delhi and problems of pollution and parking.

The ongoing sealing drive against illegal construction in the city began in December. After repeated protests by traders, leaders from the Aam Aadmi Party, the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress asked a Supreme Court-appointed panel in March to suspend the drive. The panel did not agree.

On Monday, the Centre told the court that the government had held meetings with agencies concerned and had proposed forming a special task force to monitor problems coming up because of unauthorised constructions.

The bench will hear the matter next on April 18.

On April 2, the court had rebuked the Centre and other authorities for the “complete breakdown” of law and order in Delhi and the governance lapses that led to the strikes over the sealing drive.