The Punjab and Haryana High Court Monday observed that the prevalent practice of selling a share or shares in a house in Chandigarh amounts to apartmentlization and directed the authorities concerned to take a decision regarding the issue within two weeks, after it was argued that the same goes against the very “mindset” with which the city was built. The Chandigarh Apartment Rules were repealed in 2007.
“You come up with a solution…Take a decision before things go out of hand and before any irreversible damage is done,” observed a division bench of Chief Justice Ravi Shanker Jha and Justice Arun Palli, as it expressed surprise that the case before the High Court has remained pending for the past more than three years but the Advisory Council or Heritage Committee has not examined the matter.
The court observed that the sale of independent floors in a three-storey dwelling unit is “exactly” apartmentalization in case sale deeds are permitted to be executed and questioned how sale of undivided shares in a house was being permitted.
“You are (just) giving a different name… The authorities have to take a decision. If they want to do this … and throw it open, then take a call,” observed the court. However, it did not pass any interim order of stay in the matter after noting the Chandigarh Administration’s statement that composite building plans are sanctioned for a dwelling unit and not individually for a particular floor.
The observation and directions were passed in a case challenging the sale of houses in Chandigarh as independent units like floor-wise or on share basis, contending that there cannot be independent units within a residential dwelling unit as that spoils the basic character of Chandigarh and it is for the same reason that the Chandigarh Apartment Rules, 2001, were repealed in 2007.
The Chandigarh Administration Tuesday submitted that no sale deed pertaining to apartments is executed but when it comes to sale of shares, the process cannot be stopped. UT Senior Standing Counsel Pankaj Jain also argued that the matter regarding fragmentation of property has already been interpreted.
Senior Advocate Puneet Bali, on behalf of petitioners, in the beginning of the hearing submitted that apartments are being created and sold in a surreptitious manner as each floor is treated as an independent unit. “It is totally spoiling the fabric of city,” he said, adding that the Administration thinks everyone is naive not to think of selling of shares in a dwelling unit as selling of apartments.
Senior Advocate Vikas Bahl, who represents the opposing party in the case, submitted that no person can be restricted from selling their share. Bahl also submitted that one of the solutions to dwindling resources is basement parking which needs to be made mandatory in Chandigarh.
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