HC bars regularisation of unauthorised constructions-Chennai-Tamil Nadu
Order follows PIL plea that deliberate deviations don’t deserve to be condoned
The Madras High Court has restrained the government from regularising buildings constructed across the State before 2007 in deviation of the approved building plans based on the two Government Orders passed on June 22 without obtaining the leave of the court. It clarified that applications for regularisation could be processed, but no final decision should be taken.
Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice M. Sundar passed the interim order on a public interest litigation petition filed by V.B.R. Menon, 64, an advocate, and adjourned the case to October 23.
The petitioner urged the court to quash the two GOs and order formulation of a well-thought-out scheme for regularisation.
Arguing his case in person, the petitioner pointed out that the government had notified the Tamil Nadu Assessment and Collection of Amount for Exemption of Buildings Rules of 2017 through the first G.O. and the Guidelines for the Exemption of Buildings, 2017, through the second G.O. for regularising unauthorised constructions under Section 113-C of the Tamil Nadu Town and Country Planning Act of 1971.
Recalling a similar measure taken by the State to regularise unauthorised constructions in 1999 by amending Section 113 of the Act, the petitioner pointed out that the Supreme Court had upheld the amendment in 2000. However, when the State extended the cut-off date for regularisations, a Division Bench of the High Court struck down the decision in 2006 by observing that only bona fide deviations deserved to be condoned.
“Deliberate deviations do not deserve to be condoned and compounded… Such grant of exemption and the regularisation is likely to spell ruin for any city as it affects the lives, health, safety and convenience of all its citizens. The Court cannot remain a mute spectator when the violations also affect the environment and healthy living of law abiding citizens,” the 2006 judgment rendered in Consumer Action Group’s case read.
Nevertheless, the present GOs had been issued for regularising all kinds of deviations without understanding the purport of the judgment, the petitioner claimed. “If someone owned 1,000 square feet of land and had constructed a 1,000 sq.ft building on it without leaving any space around it, that building would also be regularised as per the the two GOs. How could this be done? That is the not the intent of Section 113,” he argued.
Accusing the government of having issued the GOs with the sole aim of filling its coffers with collection of regularistion fee, Mr. Menon said that there was no word on utilising the money for improving living conditions in the respective localities as required under law.
He also stated that the two GOs were silent on regularisation of unauthorised buildings constructed after 2007.