Petitioner aggrieved by neighbour’s building did not produce approved plan for his own house

When you complain about a building rule violation, you need to approach the court with clean hands — this message was clear from a recent order of the Madras High Court.

The Court has imposed costs of Rs. 25,000 on two persons who sought a direction to the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) and Chennai Corporation to take action on a representation regarding a flat at Villivakkam here.

The petitioners K. Dhakshnamurthy and A. Sundra Subramaniam had stated that one Simon Williams, the owner of a piece of land opposite their house, and A. Dhakshnamurthy, his power agent, had constructed a flat without any sanctioned plan. The structure caused hindrance to the residents of the petitioners’ colony, they had stated.

A representation was then submitted in December last year to the CMDA and the Corporation.

Though the civic body issued a ‘stop work’ notice in December, calling upon the land owner to produce a copy of the approved plan, no action was taken thereafter. Following this, the petition was filed.

In the order, a division bench comprising Justices Elipe Dharma Rao (since retired) and M. Venugopal said, according to the counter filed by the Corporation through its standing counsel R. Arunmozhi, a notice had been issued to K. Dhakshnamurthy, asking him to produce the approved plan for his house. Till June 26 this year, he had not submitted an explanation. Hence, the Corporation would take action against him and the owner of the land where the flat had been constructed as well as the power agent.

Counsel for Williams said the latter had sold his property as early as in 2011 through A. Dhakshnamurthy by granting him power of attorney.

If there was any violation, action should be taken only against the power of attorney, the counsel said.

The Bench said it could not go into disputed questions of fact with regard to the validity of the power of attorney, the selling of the property and the first petitioner denying receiving the notice from the Corporation.

It also directed the Corporation to proceed against Williams and A. Dhakshnamurthy and also K. Dhakshnamurthy.

The Bench ordered the costs should be paid to the Tamil Nadu Legal Services Authority within two weeks failing which, the authority’s member-secretary should take steps to recover the sum under the Revenue Recovery Act.

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