113-C of Town Planning Act Upheld, GOs Gone
The Madras High Court has upheld the validity of Sec 113-C of the TN Town and Country Planning Act, which framed rules and regulations with regard to regularisation of unauthorised constructions and gave effect to various amendments/insertions to the Act in the form of two GOs dated October 30, 2012.
After a long legal battle going up to the Supreme Court, the TN government in 2007 constituted an expert committee headed by Justice S Mohan, a retired judge of the Supreme Court, and based on the recommendations of the Committee, the government introduced Sec 113-C to the TN TCP Act, which among other things also extended the date for regularisation of unauthorised buildings prior to July 1, 2007 on payment of reduced fees.
Aggrieved, a batch of public interest writ petitions from Citizen, Consumer and Civil Action Group and social activist Traffic KR Ramaswamy came to be filed challenging the vires of Sec 113-C and the GO Nos 234 and 235 of the Housing ad Urban Development Department, which framed guidelines for exemption of buildings and assessment and collection of amounts for exemption.
The first bench of Chief Justice RK Agrawal and Justice M Sathyanarayanan, which set aside the two GOs, observed that while framing the guidelines under the GOs, especially with regard to fire safety, vehicle parking, electricity and water supply have not at all been taken into consideration. The purpose of Development Control Rules was not considered. A perusal of the recommendations/suggestions made by Justice Mohan Committee would disclose that the material and relevant aspects and impact of other statutes have not been taken into consideration. The object of TCP Act with regard to setback space and floor space index has also not been taken care of. That apart, the provision relating to process of applications is very lengthy and it would be impossible for the government to process all the applications, the bench said.
The bench, however, upheld insertion of Sec 113-C to the TNTCP Act. When the insertion of Sec 113-A was challenged, the Supreme Court had upheld it holding that it was a policy decision of the government and a one-time measure. The bench, however, observed that the same committee or a different committee should be constituted by the State Government to go into all the aspects once again before giving effect to Sect 113-C of the Town Country Planning Act .