Karnataka High Court.
Karnataka High Court. (File Photo | EPS)

Karnataka High Court to BBMP: You can’t just demolish illegal buildings

First make it clear if construction is illegal or violates sanctioned plan, court says

BENGALURU: Defining that Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) cannot demolish a building straightaway for not having obtained a sanctioned plan, the Karnataka High Court said the civic agency has to ascertain if there is any violation of building bylaws in case construction is carried out without a sanctioned plan, or has deviated from the plan, before passing orders under Sections 248(3) and 356 of the BBMP Act, 2020.

The order was passed to explore chances of saving a building from demolition by permitting the owner to obtain plan sanction from the BBMP if it was constructed without a plan or asking the owner to remove the portion of the building or deviations from the plan if it violated the sanctioned plan, instead of demolishing the entire building.

To ascertain the nature of the violation -- whether it was constructed without a plan or a portion of the building deviates in case the plan is sanctioned -- the court said a notice has to be issued to the owner of the building, taking into consideration Sections 248 and 356 of the BBMP Act (Section 321(3) and 462 of KMC Act, before BBMP Act came into force), detailing whether it was under construction, or constructed without a plan, or if the nature of violations concerned setbacks, Floor Area Ratio/Floor Area Index, floor coverage, use of building, etc. the violation, if any, of the Act, rule or bylaws.

The court said that essentially, if one were to contend that the construction is illegal or unauthorised when there is a violation of the sanctioned plan or against building bylaws. To put it differently, if construction were to comply with building bylaws, but construction was to be carried out without obtaining a sanction, it cannot be said that the construction violates building bylaws. However, it could be said that the construction is illegal since no sanction plan has been obtained, the court added.

Justice Suraj Govindaraj passed the order while allowing a batch of petitions filed by M Chandrakumar and others, questioning the demolition notice issued by the authorities of the BBMP.

BBMP’s allegations against the petitioners were that without applying for and obtaining a plan sanction, construction has been put up. Therefore, it is illegal and requires demolition. In a counter, the petitioners contended that there is no finding given as to what manner their construction violates the building bylaws. Merely because there is no plan sanction issued by the BBMP, the construction does not become illegal so long as it is in accordance with, and complies with the requirements of Building Bye-laws, they argued.

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