‘Do not regularise encroachment on PU plots under Gunthewari Act’

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 12 Jul 2018 10:42:42


 

Staff Reporter,


HC issues stern directive to civic authorities not to regularise plots and constructions situated on open spaces specifically reserved for public amenities

IN a major jolt to unauthorised constructions and plots carved out of spaces reserved for public utility (PU), Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court on Wednesday directed Nagpur Improvement Trust (NIT) and Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) not to regularise any encroachment on such illegally created plot under the Gunthewari Act.


A division bench consisting of Justice Bhushan Dharmadhikari and Justice Z A Haq, while hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Ajay Tiwari issued notice to respondents with a stern directive not to regularise plots and constructions situated on open spaces specifically reserved for public amenities. The PIL also questioned validity of Maharashtra Gunthewari Developments (Regulation, Upgradation, and Control) Act, 2001 and quashing of the Gunthewari Act and the Maharashtra Town Planning (Compounded Structures) Rules, 2017, being contrary to several laws and not in public interest, the Court has also issued a notice to Advocate General to show cause in three weeks with other respondents.

 

 


According to petitioner, the NIT had regularised more than 2 lakh plots including 75,711 plots and constructions situated on spaces reserved for public utilities and public amenities. In most layouts, minimum size of plot is 1,500 sq ft and by this conservative estimate, the NIT has so far regularised around 11.35 crore sq ft of land (more than 2580 acre) under reservation at the cost of public amenities intended and proposed. The NIT has regularised more than 6,800 acres of land for residential and other purposes which was meant for agricultural purposes without following the due process of law and providing a short cut to the public under the Gunthewari Act, the PIL alleged.


In earlier suo-motu PIL based on ‘The Hitavada’ series, similar issue has been placed on record in which it has been stated that reservation worth 1.50 crore sq ft have been deleted by a committee of officers by scrapping reservation of lands meant for schools, hospitals, public utilities which resulted in lop-sided development of city.


Citing another statistics, the PIL claimed that out of 252 building permits given in Dhantoli zone, 215 have been found to be unauthorised ones and only 37 were found legal so as such how the NMC could have issued 61 completion certificates. The PIL sought correct information from NMC on this issue and demanded comprehensive and correct data from the civic body.


The PIL strongly opposed the regularisation policy of the State Government and civic agencies and slammed them for failing to curb unauthorised construction. The PIL also cited several damaging facts about illegal constructions in premium localities of the city.


The petitioner has urged the High Court to direct the respondents to remove unauthorised constructions in the city and metro region before implementing any scheme of regularising or compounding of illegal structures. He has also prayed for a direction to the respondents to remove all commercial establishments constructed on residential plots and restore front margins of each and every building to ensure proper parking. He has also sought removal of all unauthorised constructions on public amenities, gardens, parks, and direction not to regularise any such plot. Before undertaking any regularisation, all pending appeals relating to unauthorised construction be decided.


An important prayer by the petitioner is that all roads should be restored as per the Development Plan free from encroachments. Advocates M Anilkumar and Akansha Wanjari appeared for the petitioner.