The High Court-appointed monitoring committee, which met on Friday, directed the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority to study the possibility of constituting a panel of architects to check building violations.

The committee expressed dissatisfaction over the enforcement action taken by CMDA and the Chennai Corporation so far and said “special teams formed for enforcement is not having an effect.”

“Stop work notice is not working. Violation has become the order of the day. Architects of multi-storied buildings and special buildings should be involved in monitoring the construction in every stage till the completion certificate is issued,” said M.G.Devasahayam, monitoring committee member.

The committee also suggested that architects who fail to report building violations should be penalised.

It pointed to the Madras High Court’s decision in 2006 to strike down schemes introduced by the government to regularise unauthorised construction. The court upheld only the scheme announced in 1999. This meant that unauthorised buildings completed before February 28, 1999 alone qualified for regularisation. As a result, about 25,000 applications of the 65,529 submitted for regularisation were rejected at that time.

“Now the whole order and the new guidelines under Section 113-C of Tamil Nadu Town and Country Planning Act, 1971 for the exemption of unauthorised buildings from regulations has changed the goalpost. Now, we need to have more legal clarity,” said Mr.Devasahayam.

“The monitoring committee is a creation of the High Court. How can you liberalise norms without the sanction of the High Court,” said Mr.Devasahayam. Members also questioned the relevance of the monitoring committee, after the State government has decided to condone unauthorised buildings constructed before July 1, 2007, for a fee. CMDA officials said the monitoring committee will continue to play a key role as the guidelines under Section 113-C of Tamil Nadu Town and Country Planning Act, 1971 offered only a “limited solution to the problem of violation.”

They clarified that the guidelines will cover only provisions of FSI, setback requirements and road width of the Tamil Nadu Town and Country Planning Act, 1971. Applications for exemption will be rejected if violations in respect of minimum required road width exceeds 20 per cent. Violation in respect of minimum setback spaces around such unauthorised building shall not exceed 50 per cent. FSI shall not exceed 50 per cent of the allowable limit.