Stay on regularization of illegal constructions in Himachal as HC seeks clarification from Govt.

SHIMLA- State Government’s plan to regularize illegal structures in Himachal under the Himachal Pradesh Town and Country Planning (Amendment) Act, 2016, has received a setback as HP High Court stayed its move. Orders came from division bench of Justice Sanjay Karol and Justice Tarlok Singh Chauhan while hearing a PIL filed by advocate Abhimanyu Rathore. In his petition, Rathore had pleaded that such laws would bring discomfort to law abiding and honest citizens of the state. The government, by endorsing such laws, is patronizing law breakers, he had stated in the PIL.

With this order, dream for regularization of thousands of unauthorized constructions has shattered for now. As per Sudhir Sharma, HP Urban Development and Town and Country Planning Minister, by March 30, 2017, government had received about 9,097 applications for regularization. (District wise number is given in the infographic above)

The town and country planning department and municipal corporation have been directed to not take final call under ‘as is where is’ basis until further orders. The court established that the Supreme Court has termed such regularization as against the spirit of law. In the next hearing that is listed on April 17, the court has asked the government to clarify whether these orders were tabled in the HP Assembly before making amendments in the town and country planning bill to regularize unauthorized structures or not.

Through an Ordinance, the HP Cabinet, in its meeting held in March, 2016, had approved regularization of the deviations made by the building owners in the Town and Country Planning areas and other local bodies on ‘as is where is’ basis provided 30 percent open space is available as per the requirement of set-backs.

It is noticeable that the state government is ignoring community rights of tribal population on forest resources and is very strictly evicting them. State is lacking behind in proper implementation of Forest Rights Act, 2016. However, on the other hand, it’s keen to regularize illegal constructions in cities and towns.

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