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Unauthorised buildings demolition: Owners should appear in HC

Chennai: Madras High Court today directed owners (housewives) of unauthorised buildings and their husbands to be present in court on the next hearing in a case where officers were reportedly threatened and prevented from sealing illegal/unauthorized construction in George Town area.

The First bench, comprising Chief Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice T S Sivagnanam gave the direction when the house wives appeared in court and said their husbands are managing the business activity.

On July 10 2015, while hearing a PIL on the illegal and unauthorized constructions in Sowcarpet area of George town, the HC had issued notice to the building owners who reportedly prevented an enforcement officer from sealing it. They were also reportedly threatened by a group, said to be advocates.

Police had cautioned that the officer will have to face action under SC/ST Act as the crowd planned to lodge a complaint to the effect.

When the matter came up one N V Mohan, Assistant Executive Engineer of Chennai Corporation, produced some photographs and video taken on that day.

The bench perused it, directed police to identify the people and submit details to it for which the Advocate General gave an assurance.

The bench rejected the submission by owners’ counsel that only two floors were built in excess of the plan.It directed that sealing take place tomorrow itself with full police protection and that the owners – their husbands – be present on that date to ensure cooperation.They should also undertake to cooperate with police to identify the persons who obstructed the process of sealing earlier.

On the owners’ request for one week time to vacate and giving an undertaking that they will not interfere with the process in any manner, the bench accepted it and permitted to implement the sealing on July 30.

On the PIL Advocate General A L Somayaji submitted that issuance of completion certificates for buildings constructed as per norms is under consideration and that he would examine the issue. “Completion certificates to the buildings constructed in accordance with norms will be made simple and ensure that no completion certificate is issued to builders violating the norms.”

The bench said this was possible if such builders had not yet obtained electricity, sewerage and water connections, nor had they been assessed for property tax.

The issue of directing house owners to be present in court was in the wake of the Executive Engineer (Enforcement) of the Chennai Corporation B T Raman. Who faced threats and explained what happened when he visited the area.

The bench posted the matter for further hearing to August 7, 2015.