The Supreme Court has expressed serious concern over the mushrooming of unauthorised and illegal constructions beyond the sanctioned plans in towns and cities and favoured strict action against such constructions.
“Such activities are required to be dealt with by firm hands. Otherwise builders/colonisers would continue to build or construct beyond the sanctioned and approved plans and would still go scot-free.
Ultimately, it is the flat owners who fall prey to such activities as the ultimate desire of a common man is to have a shelter of his own. Such unlawful constructions are definitely against the public interest and hazardous to the safety of occupiers and residents of multi-storeyed buildings,” said a Bench of Justices V.S. Sirpurkar and Deepak Verma.
The Court said, “It is the bounden duty of the citizens to follow the rules made by the civic authorities for construction of apartments and buildings in conformity with public safety. Even though on earlier occasions also, under similar circumstances there have been judgments of this court which should have been a pointer to all the builders that raising unauthorised construction never pays and is against the interest of society at large but no heed to it has been given by the builders.”
Writing the judgment, Mr. Justice Verma said, “Rules, regulations and bye-laws are made by corporation or by development authorities taking in view the larger public interest of society and it is the bounden duty of the citizens to obey and follow such rules which are made for their benefit. If unauthorised constructions are allowed to stand or given a seal of approval by courts, then it is bound to affect the public at large. An individual has a right, including a fundamental right, within a reasonable limit. But if it inroads the public rights leading to public inconvenience, it is to be curtailed to that extent.”
The Bench noted that it was conscious of the fact that its demolition orders would cause considerable inconvenience to the gullible flat owners who had purchased flats. However, the Court restrained itself from ordering any compensation to those whose flats would be demolished.
“Even though, at the first instance, we thought of invoking this court’s jurisdiction conferred under Article 142 of the Constitution so as to do complete justice between the parties and to direct awarding of reasonable/suitable compensation/interest to the flat owners, whose flats are ultimately going to be demolished, but with a very heavy heart, we have restrained ourselves from doing so, for variety of reasons and on account of various disputed questions that may be posed in the matter.”
In the instant case, the appellants Priyanka Estates International Pvt. Ltd. and others were aggrieved over a judgment of the Guwahati High Court upholding the order of demolition of a portion of the fifth floor and three floors of unauthorised construction, viz., 6th, 7th and 8th floors of multi-storeyed apartments in Guwahati. The Bench upheld the demolition orders and dismissed the appeals.