‘BBMP did not take action against illegal buildings despite suo motu proceedings’
HC refuses to accept pandemic as reason
Observing that the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike has not taken any concrete step, except conducing a partial survey, in the past two years against illegal constructions, the High Court of Karnataka on Wednesday directed the Chief Commissioner to take concrete actions like the demolition of identified structures by December first week.
Noticing from the chart submitted by Chief Commissioner Gaurav Gupta, indicating that 4,279 buildings have been identified for construction in deviation from sanctioned plan or against bylaw, the court said that Commissioner’s statement did not indicate survey of buildings constructed sans sanctioned plan.
It also directed the Chief Commissioner to complete the survey of the remaining buildings constructed since January 2020 for violation of sanctioned plans and to inform the outcome of the survey of buildings built without obtaining approval for the plans.
A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi and Justice Sachin Shankar Magadum issued the directions while hearing a PIL petition initiated in suo motu by the court in 2019 after noticing several instances of illegal constructions across the city.
Though the BBMP cited the pendency of petition before apex court on law to regularise certain types of illegal structures and the apex court’s order against demolition during COVID-19 lockdown period as an excuse for delay, the Bench refused to accept the same while expressing serious dissatisfaction and stating that BBMP’s lacked in acting against illegal constructions for the past two years.
When Mr. Gupta, who was asked to be present personally, stated that he took charge of the post only in April 2021 and pandemic caused delay in taking action, the Bench said that excuse of pandemic is over and told him to perform the tough duties of the important posts that he holds.
As Mr. Gupta assured the court of concrete action, including steps to demolish illegal structures, the Bench directed him to submit the action taken report by December 9 while making it clear that the BBMP will have to act toughly against buildings constructed without obtaining approval for plans. The Bench orally told him that even photographs of demolished illegal structures will have to be submitted.
In his affidavit, Mr. Gupta had stated that survey of buildings, for which approval for plans were given between January 1, 2020, and May 31, 2021, were being taken up at the present, and the survey of all the buildings, for which BBMP accorded approval for plans since January 16, 2007, would be completed by June 4, 2023.