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Don’t decide on regularisation pleas: Madras High Court

Process going on without incorporating necessary changes directed by HC, says petitioner

Published: 13th September 2017 03:07 AM  |   Last Updated: 13th September 2017 08:17 AM   |  A+A-

By Express News Service

CHENNAI: No final decision on the applications for regularisation of illegal constructions shall be taken without the court’s permission, the first Bench of the Madras High Court has said. The Bench of Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice M Sundar issued the directive when a PIL from advocate V B R Menon came up on Monday. “Applications for regularisation may be entertained and proceeded. But no final decision thereon shall be taken without the leave of the Court,” the Bench said.

The petitioner challenged two GOs dated June 22 last relating to regularisation of unauthorised constructions under sec. 113-C of the TN Town and Country Planning Act and sought to quash the same on the ground that they were just old wine in new bottles without incorporating the necessary changes and modifications as directed by the High Court.According to petitioner, there were no provisions in the proposed regularisation scheme to deal with the illegal constructions made after 2007 including illegal additions or modifications, with or without sanctioned plans.

The Secretary, Housing and Urban Development Department on June last passed the two GO Nos. 110 and 111 for regularisation of the unauthorised constructions in light of the orders passed by the High Court dated February 10, 2014 of the then first Bench.The petitioner contended that the validity of the GO dated October 30, 2012 for regularisation of unauthorised constructions were struck down by the court on the ground of absence of appropriate rules, criteria and procedures for the implementation of the regularisation scheme.

However, the authorities extended the cut-off date of the scheme beyond the originally fixed date  of February 28, 1999 by amending the Act in 2000, 2001 and 2002 , which were struck down on August 23, 2016 by the first Bench of the High Court by holding the amendments as violative of Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution.The authorities have now come up with the present GO Nos 110 and 111 dated June 22 last, pursuant to the directions and observations of the High Court.

Prima facie, the only purpose of notifying the GOs  for regularisation of illegally constructed buildings appears to be to somehow fill up the State coffers, which are reported to be almost empty at present.
The very purpose of Sec 113-C of the Act was to give exemption from development control laws to selected cases and/or specific locality/region and not to offer general amnesty to violations across the entire State. The GOs did not indicate how the regularisation fees and fines collected from the scheme were going to be used to improve the existing conditions in the respective localities/areas. Without any clarity and transparency regarding the proposed use of the above funds to guarantee that it would not be used or diverted for other purposes, the proposed scheme might not succeed in achieving the planned development of construction activities within the State, petitioner said.



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