Violation of building rules: court wants action against officials

Special Correspondent

Asks CMDA, Corporation to furnish list of connected petitions

Nature and extent of building rule violations in State "absolutely sickening" "Whenever there is demolition it must begin with big criminals and not shandies"

CHENNAI: Hinting at action against officials, past and present, responsible for unhindered construction of unauthorised buildings in T. Nagar, the Madras High Court has said that the demolition must begin with "big criminals" and not pavement dwellers or shandies.

The First Bench, comprising Chief Justice A.P. Shah and Justice K. Chandru, hearing a batch of writ petitions and public interest litigation (PIL) petitions pertaining to regularisation of unauthorised constructions, also orally directed the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) and the Chennai Corporation to furnish the list of connected petitions filed after February 1999.

"We want the list of writ petitions filed by builders, and the CMDA and the Corporation can give the necessary particulars," the Bench said. All the matters should be posted before the Bench on August 21 for further proceedings.

Describing the nature and extent of building rule violations in the State as "absolutely sickening," the First Bench asked Advocate-General R. Viduthalai to give a list of officers, "who were in-charge of the area and had been entrusted with the responsibility of not allowing unauthorised constructions."

Earlier, G. Rajendran, counsel for one of the PIL petitioners, said even if three-four unauthorised floors were constructed, the officials concerned did not take any action against the violators. It takes a minimum of three to six months to complete the construction, he said, adding that besides violation of building rules there was encroachment of public space, not by hawkers, but by big building owners.

Concurring with the view, Mr. Justice Shah said: "Whenever there is demolition it must begin with big criminals and not with shandies."

The Bench also went through a list of big-time violators furnished by the Advocate-General and expressed surprise at the fact that one of them had constructed four unauthorised floors measuring over 1.16 lakh square feet.

There was connivance of top bureaucrats and it was not confined to just engineer or inspector-level, Mr. Rajendran said, adding that officials were pretending to take action by issuing stop-work or demolition notices only after petitions were filed in High Court.

He also told the Bench that even on Friday one of the violators before the First Bench had filed a writ petition against the CMDA action and obtained an order of status quo from a single judge.

The Chief Justice then directed the Registry to post the particular writ petition before the Bench, along with other similar matters.

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