Apex court for penalty on illegal structures

The Supreme Court on Monday ruled that the authorities must not only demolish unauthorised constructions but also make offenders pay adequate penalty for affecting the fundamental rights of others by placing burden on basic amenities like water, power etc.

A bench headed by Justice G S Singhvi held that those making unauthorised constructions affected the constitutional and fundamental rights of others, besides violating municipal laws.

“Unauthorised construction of buildings not only destroys the concept of planned development — which is beneficial to the public — but also places unbearable burden on the basic amenities and facilities provided by public authorities.

At times, construction of such buildings becomes hazardous to the public and creates traffic congestion. Therefore, it is imperative for the public authorities concerned not only to demolish such constructions but also impose adequate penalty on the wrongdoer,” the bench said.

The court imposed Rs 25 lakh penalty on M/s Unique Construction of Kolkata allowing an appeal by Dipak Kumar Mukherjee. He had sought the demolition of an unauthorised multistoried building in Kidderpore in the city.

The bench said the reports of demolition of ‘jhuggis’ frequently appeared in the media but one seldom read about demolition of unauthorised multistoried structures raised by economically affluent people.

“The failure of the state apparatus to take prompt action to demolish such illegal constructions has convinced the citizens that planning laws are enforced only against poor and all compromises are made by the state machinery when it is required to deal with those who have money power or unholy nexus with the power corridors,” the court observed.
Besides directing for demolition of the building in a month’s time, the court ordered the real estate company to pay the price of the flats, along with 18 per cent annual interest, to buyers within three months.

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