Permitting illegal construction to later regularize it suggestive of non-governance and ostrich-like attitude : HC

SHIMLA- Expressing displeasure on the move of the state to regularise the unauthorised structures in the state, the Himachal Pradesh High Court observed that the action of the state government to regularise the unauthorised construction/ encroachments is suggestive of non-governance. Permitting the unauthorised construction under the very nose of the authorities and later on regularising those amounts to failure of constitutional mechanism/ machinery.

This observation was made by a division bench comprising Justice Rajiv Sharma and Justice Sureshwar Thakur while dealing with the case of encroachments on the forest land. The court further observed:

The state government should not regularise the unauthorised construction and also the encroachments, that too, on the forest land. It is expected from the state to maintain the rule of law. The state should promote honesty instead of dishonesty. Thousands of unauthorised constructions have not been raised overnight. The government machinery was mute spectator by letting the people to raise unauthorised constructions and also encroach upon the government land.

Coming down heavily on the state it further observed:

The state functionary/machinery has adopted an ostrich-like attitude. The honest persons are at the receiving end and the persons who have raised unauthorised construction are being encouraged to break the law. This attitude also violates the human rights of the honest citizens, who have raised their construction in accordance with law. There are thousands of buildings being regularised, which are not even structurally safe.

It further observed, “The haphazard unauthorised construction carried out all over the state would pose a grave threat to the life and property in case of earthquake of severe magnitude. The high-rise buildings would cause tremendous damage to the adjoining buildings.

The state Assembly had recently passed Himachal Pradesh Town and Country Planning (Amendment Bill) 2016 for regularising the unauthorised structures in the state. Referring to media reports published in this regard the court observed:

The regularisation of unauthorised constructions/ encroachments on public land will render a number of enactments like Indian Forest Act 1927, Himachal Pradesh Land Revenue Act, 1953 and Town and Country Planning Act, 1977 nugatory and otiose. The letter and spirit of these enactments cannot be obliterated all together by showing undue indulgence and favouritism to dishonest persons. The over-indulgence by the State to dishonest persons may ultimately lead to anarchy and would also destroy the democratic polity.

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