HC dismisses petitions challenging order issued by Madurai Corporation to demolish building

Considering that a building on East Veli Street in Madurai was in a dilapidated condition and could collapse, the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court dismissed the petitions filed by two tenants who challenged the permission granted by Madurai Corporation to demolish the building. Madurai Corporation passed the order in 2021.

The court was hearing the two separate petitions filed by P. Manoharan and N. Nageswaran. They challenged the order of Madurai Corporation. It was said that the landlord had filed an application before the rent control authorities against the tenants seeking eviction in order to demolish and reconstruct the building. The Rent Controller rejected the application.

Justice R. Vijayakumar observed that the rent control legislation regulates the private rights of the landlord and the tenant. On the other hand, municipal law regulates the relationship of the occupier of the property with that of the general public.

When a building is in a dilapidated condition and it is likely to only endanger the life and property of the occupants, the issue could be left to the rent control authorities. However, when the structural stability of a building is likely to endanger the life and property of the neighbours or the general public, the municipal authorities cannot close their eyes and await the verdict of the rent control authorities.

Not only a public duty but a statutory duty is cast upon the authorities to interfere and see to it that the building is stabilised or demolished so that it does not affect the life or property of the general public.

Both the rent control legislations and the municipal laws relating to the demolition of the building operate on two different fields depending upon the class of persons likely to be affected by the dilapidated nature of the building.

Neither there is overlapping between the two enactments nor it is a case of one enactment prevailing over the other. Both operate in their respective fields depending upon the class of persons likely to be affected by the dilapidated condition of the building, the judge said.

In the present case, the shops in the building are a restaurant and a sweet stall frequented by the general public. A perusal of the Engineer's report discloses that the disputed building is located in a busy bazaar area in the heart of Madurai city.

Considering the safety of the general public, Corporation authorities have rightly exercised the statutory power despite dismissal of rent control proceedings. The pendency/ dismissal of rent control proceedings for the demolition and reconstruction would not be a bar for the municipal authorities to order demolition of a building, the judge said.

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Printable version | Aug 11, 2022 4:36:49 pm |