The Madras High Court has clarified that no final decision, on applications submitted for regularisation of unauthorised buildings in the state, shall be taken without its permission. The first bench of chief justice Indira Banerjee and justice M Sundar, made the clarification when a PIL by advocate VBR Menon on the matter came up for hearing, on September 11, 2017.
Passing the interim order, the bench said, “Applications for regularisation may be entertained and proceeded but no final decision thereon shall be taken, without the leave of the court.”
The petitioner challenged two government orders issued on June 22, 2017, for regularisation of unauthorised buildings, under section 113-C of the Tamil Nadu Town and Country Planning Act, 1971 and sought to quash the same, saying a perusal of the impugned orders shall reveal that these were just old wine in new bottles. He submitted that there were no provisions in the proposed regularisation scheme, to deal with illegal constructions that came up after 2007, including additions and modifications made to already existing buildings, with or without sanctioned plans.
The secretary of the Housing and Urban Development Department had, on June 22, 2017, passed two orders for regularisation of unauthorised constructions in the state, in pursuant to the high court order on a petition, in the wake of a recent fire accident at the Chennai Silks textile showroom. Referring to a February 2014 order of the high court, the petitioner said that the validity of the GO (Ms) nos. 234 and 235, issued on October 30, 2012, for regularisation of unauthorised constructions were struck down, on the grounds of the absence of appropriate rules, criteria and procedures for the implementation of the regularisation scheme.
Prima facie, the only purpose of notifying the impugned orders for regularisation of illegally constructed buildings in the state, appears to be to somehow fill up the state’s coffers, which were reported to be almost empty at present, he contended. Moreover, the proposed scheme has been announced without conducting necessary comprehensive studies and collection of detailed data and statistics, regarding the geographical distribution, age, extents and categories of the illegally constructed buildings across the state, he claimed.
Having totally failed to perform their duties all along, the authorities do not have any right to seek any further regularisation scheme, until they identify and regularise all illegal constructions prior to 1999 under Section 113-A of the Act of 1971, the petitioner said.