August 28, 2021 5:10:26 am
SUPREME COURT on Friday directed that the Gujarat government’s July 8 notification, under which civic bodies were restrained from taking coercive action against buildings operating without valid Building Use permission, “shall be kept in abeyance” pending further orders. Giving the direction, the court remarked: “We can’t cure all ills in Indian society but we must do what we can as judges to uphold rule of law.”
A bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud and M R Shah did not agree with the argument that the notification issued in exercise of the powers conferred by Section 122 of the Gujarat Town Planning and Urban Development Act, 1976 was only to give hospitals and nursing homes that were in violation, more time to comply with the norms in view of the need for more beds during the pandemic.
It said the notification also included buildings that did not have Building Use permission, or were violating the permissions and that “any violation of development control regulation was condoned by this”. The bench said the power vested in the state government under Section 122 is to facilitate the efficient administration of the town planning and urban development legislation.
As a consequence of the notification, it said, the state government had directed that buildings which do not have valid Building Use permission or have violated development control regulations like height restrictions etc shall be exempt from obligation to comply with the building control regulations for three months from the last date of applicability of the Gujarat Epidemic Diseases COVID-19 Regulation, 2020.
“Prima facie, the notification… is ultra vires the provisions of Section 122. Such an exemption from complying with the building control regulations… bears no nexus with the efficient administration of the Act,” the bench said.
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