Express News Service
CHENNAI: After a two-year delay, the Tamil Nadu government is likely to file a counter in the regularisation scheme that was rolled out on June 22, 2017.
The scheme had hit a legal hurdle with petitions in the Madras High Court seeking to quash the Government Orders (GOs) issued by the Housing and Urban Development department. The petitions claimed the GOs violated Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution as they sought to impose arbitrary and illegal pre-conditions for regularisation.
A batch of writ petitions has been filed before the court seeking to form a high-power, multi-disciplinary special task force to survey, identify, and compile data, and formulate a comprehensive regularisation scheme to remove or regularise all unauthorised constructions in the State and execute the scheme within a prescribed time limit.
The court had on September 2, 2020 told the government to file a comprehensive counter. Then on June 21 this year, a division bench said it should be filed by July 12, 2022. As per the regularisation scheme effected in 2017, building owners would be allowed to rectify violations to avoid lock-and-seal action by the government.
However, the residents ought to pay regularisation charges based on the size, guideline value, and location of the building. Several property owners opted against the scheme due to the high charges. The government then relaxed some conditions, exempting rates for floor space index violations.
Another pending issue is the clearing of the files under the first regularisation scheme, for which the cut-off date was 1999. It is learnt that 20 chief planners have been appointed since 1999 to implement the scheme but the process is yet to be completed.
The regularisation applications for buildings were kept in abeyance as the Madras High Court in its September 27, 2017 order said regularisation of setback violations could not be permitted.
Subsequently, in an order dated October 30, 2018, it clarified that there is no bar on considering applications for regularisation filed under Section 113-A if there is evidence that the building was put up before the cut-off date of February 28, 1999.
A special task force has been set up to work with the fire service department to review buildings that were issued notices which could date back to 22 years. It is learnt that many buildings don’t exist, or in some cases, the owners have changed.
Similarly, another case challenging Tamil Nadu Combined Development Rules (TNCDR) is pending at the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court, and judges observed that all orders passed under the rule are subject to the outcome of a writ petition. The petition questions the Floor Space Index announced under the rules.
Nearly five lakh buildings in the State violate the building rules and plan. Of them, nearly 1.5 lakh are in the Chennai Metropolitan Area (CMA). Buildings constructed before July 1, 2007 are covered under the scheme.
Sources revealed that the amnesty scheme had few takers as the government has imposed multiple infrastructure and amenities charges as a penalty before regularising the buildings. “Those who had come were put under the scanner over setback violations, while no action has been taken against those who evaded the scheme,” a builder said on condition of anonymity.
Now, the government’s major task should be to conduct a survey of all unauthorised buildings and try to regularise them within a prescribed time-frame, or else regularisation scheme will only remain on paper.
Tamil Nadu likely to file counter on July 12 after regularisation of buildings under 113-C of Town and country Planning Act challenged for the last five years
There is no official data on how many unauthorised buildings both residential are commercial are in the state