The Delhi Development Act, 1957 was enacted on December 27, 1957 in order to progress Delhi as per the strategies and other issues connected with such improvement. The provisions of the Act came into effect on December 30, 1957 with its applicability extending to the entire Delhi National Capital Territory. Subsequent to the enforcement of the Act, the Government of India is empowered to create the Delhi Development Authority after notifying in the Gazette of India. The Authority shall have the powers of a Company with continuous succession. The authority is entrusted with the power to purchase and sell off properties. It shall enter into lawful agreements and shall have the power to litigate.

The Lieutenant Governor in the Delhi National Capital Territory will be appointed as the Chairman who will be head of the authority. The Government of India will choose the Vice-Chairman, member for finance and accounts and an engineer. After constitution of the Delhi Municipal Corporation, two representatives should be appointed from the corporation who shall be chosen by the councilors as well as the aldermen. Such other representatives shall be appointed as specifically provided under the enactment. But the Council of Ministers who is elected to the Delhi Government will not be chosen to the authority. For the effective functioning of the authority, the Government of India shall appoint the secretary along with chief accounts officer to carry out the responsibilities that are entrusted by the rules and regulations.

In addition, the authority shall form an advisory council for the purpose of giving guidance to the authority for the groundwork of master plan. With the members of the authority, it shall constitute committees to take decisions on the management and administration of the authority. The fundamental aim of the authority to advance and reach the improvement of Delhi as per the plan and in order to achieve the object, the authority shall have the pwer to purchase, administer and sell land, erect structures, conduct mining activities and also to implement works that are related with water supply and electricity, dumping of sewage and other facilities that are essential for the improvement.

The authority shall conduct civic survey and formulate master plan immediately. The master plan will describe different zones according to which the Capital Territory will be separated to carry out such improvement and specify the mode to decide the zones and to decide the stages for the expansion. When preparing the plan, the authority will continue with the works of zonal improvement plan for all the zones and in accordance with which Delhi should be separated. The plan should be given to the Government of India by the authority for its sanction and the Government shall either give sanction or suggest changes to the plan or if not satisfied, can disapprove the plan. If the plan is rejected, the authority will have to formulate new plan. If it is essential for the development of Delhi to acquire land, the Government of India is empowered to do so as per the requirements of Land Acquisition Act, 1984. If any development is carried out in contravention of the master plan, the constructions or buildings so erected shall be demolished. The development activities shall be performed only as per the master plan and not otherwise. The authorities under the Act are the Collector, Appellate Tribunal and Lieutenant Governor. The disputes shall also be referred to an arbitrator for its speedy disposal. The Central Government is given the power to frame rules in the denoted areas for the proper implementation of the provisions of the Act. The Central Government shall give regulations to the authority for formulation of the master plan.

The Delhi Development Act, 1957 was amended by enacting the Delhi Development (Amendment) Act, 1963, 1984 and 1996. The present Act repealed the United Provinces Town Improvement Act, 1919 and the Delhi (Control of Building Operations) Act, 1955.