The Madras High Court on Monday quashed two Tamil Nadu G.O.s of October 2012 that allowed regularisation of illegal constructions up to July 1, 2007.

The orders contained guidelines and rules to give effect to various amendments to the Tamil Nadu Town and Country Planning (TCP) Act. The court upheld Section 113-C of the TCP Act insofar as it applied to unauthorised constructions after February 28, 1999.

While quashing the two G.O.s, the Bench granted liberty to the State government to refer the various issues pointed out by it to a committee set up in 2007 and headed by a retired Judge of the Supreme Court, S.Mohan, or to a different committee.

Based on its recommendations, the government could frame appropriate guidelines and rules for proper and effective implementation of Section 113-C.

The First Bench comprising Chief Justice R.K.Agrawal and Justice M.Sathyanarayanan was passing a common judgment on petitions filed by K.R.Ramaswamy alias ‘Traffic’ Ramaswamy, a social activist and Citizen, Consumer and Civic Action Group, represented by its trustee, Tara Murali.

The Bench pulled up the authorities for their lackadaisical attitude, which allowed such an alarming number of illegal constructions. The State government should act diligently and prevent recurrence of such unlawful activities in future. It should deal with violators with an iron hand. The court also hoped that no further extension of cut-off date will be granted in future.

The petitioners contended that the Corporation and the CMDA failed to take effective steps to halt unauthorised developments. The government, instead of controlling the violations, was abetting violators by granting exemption, and on various occasions chose to give cut-off dates for regularising unauthorised constructions. The amendment by inserting Section 113-C (Exemption in respect of development of certain buildings) aided violators, who with absolute impunity violated the TCP Act and Development Control Rules (DCR.) Counsel submitted that though the Supreme Court upheld Section 113-C, it expressed grave concern over the illegal constructions and left it to the State government to do the needful for salvaging cities from illegal colonies.

The court observed that the nature and purpose of DCR in Chennai metropolitan area was not properly considered by the committee, based on which the guidelines under one G.O. and assessment and collection of sum under the other G.O. came to be passed.

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