The Madras High Court on Friday observed that the enormity of the number of cases of illegal constructions was astounding showing complete failure of the system, where people seem to be making constructions as they like without any fear of consequences.

The First Bench of Chief Justice S.K. Kaul and Justice M. Sundar made the observation after perusing the affidavits filed by the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA), the Chennai Corporation and the report of the amicus curiae.

The issue pertains to a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) petition moved by “Traffic” K.R. Ramaswamy seeking action against unauthorised construction in and around George Town area in Chennai.

When the PIL came up for hearing the amicus curiae submitted that the authorities have received 65,529 applications for regularisation under 1999, 2000, 2001, and 2002 schemes. Pointing out that 86 per cent of the applications were rejected, amicus curiae V. Suresh said: “This, in turn, would require a massive action, but the enforcement action has been comparatively sparse, thus, the violators have continued to have sway.”

He further pointed out that in the past 19 years, only 156 illegal constructions have been demolished by the CMDA at an average of eight demolitions per year while they grant plan approvals at an average of 500 to 600 buildings per year. As to the vacancies in the CMDA, which was also pointed out by the amicus curiae as a major reason for the inaction, the Bench directed the State government to file an affidavit explaining the time period within which the vacancies would be filled.

“As far as vacancies in Chennai Corporation are concerned, it is stated that the recruitment process is at interview stage and there are stated to be some interim orders of this court. On our query to verify the facts, the matter was passed over and now it is confirmed that there was no interim order. We thus, direct that steps be taken for holding the interview within two weeks,” the judges added. The Bench then posted the PIL to January 23, 2017 for further hearing.