Legal hurdles may delay Akrama-Sakrama scheme

HC has stayed changes made to law on regularising building violations

Legal hurdles may delay Akrama-Sakrama scheme

The State government may be in a hurry to regularise building violations in urban areas (Akrama-Sakrama) by promulgating an ordinance. But, the move may not produce the desired effect till the Karnataka High Court gives its ruling on implementation of the Karnataka Town and Country Planning (KTCP) Act.

Sources in the secretariat said that unless the court adjudicates the case, amendments to the KTCP Act will be ‘inconsequential’.  The court has stayed the amendment to the Act for regularising building violations.

The Governor’s nod to the Ordinance for extending the timeframe for regularising building violations and the various penal clauses will not hold any water till the case is adjudicated. One of the three related petitions pending before the Court challenges the validity of the amendment to the Act.

Besides, the regularisation bill appears to be in contravention of several Supreme Court judgements on the regularisation laws passed by various states across the country. The Supreme Court in a 2004 case relating to regularisation laws passed by the State of Orissa said: “The municipal laws permit deviations from sanctioned constructions being regularised by compounding. But, that is by way of exception.

Unfortunately, the exception, with the lapse of time and frequent exercise of the discretionary power conferred by such exception, has become the rule.”

On August 8, 2000, the apex court quashed 62 Government Orders to regularise building violations issued by the government of Tamil Nadu between 1987 and 1988.

The Supreme Court observed: “When such a wide power is vested in the government it has to be exercised with greater circumspection. Greater is the power, greater should be the caution... But, where it erodes the public safety, public convenience, public health etc., the exercise of power could not be for the furtherance of the purpose of the Act.”

Sources in the government said the Supreme Court judgements have even suggested that there is a possibility of such amendments sending the town planning haywire in urban areas and, also causing several health hazards to people.

Regularisation hazards

Explaining the hazards of regularising violations in urban areas, the apex court in the case of Shanti Sports Club Vs Union of India said: “The people belonging to this class do not realise that the constructions made in violation of the relevant laws, master plan or zonal development plan or sanctioned building plan or the building is used for a purpose other than the one specified in the relevant statute or the master plan, etc., such constructions put unbearable burden on the public facilities/amenities such as water, electricity, sewerage, etc. apart from creating chaos on roads. The pollution caused due to traffic congestion affects the health of road users. They suffer from skin diseases of different types, asthma, allergies and even more dreaded diseases like cancer.”

The court further noted that from time to time it has taken cognisance of buildings constructed in violation of municipal and other laws and emphasised that no compromise should be made with the town planning scheme and no relief should be given to the violator of the town planning scheme on the ground that he has spent substantial amount on construction of the buildings.

When Deccan Herald sought Law Minister T B Jayachandra’s opinion with regard to the Supreme Court rulings against the regularisation bills, he said: “Whatever points have been raised by the judiciary with regard to regularisation acts have been considered by the government.”

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