Apartments coming up against law, court told

Apartments coming up against law, court told

Chandigarh, February 18

The Punjab and Haryana High Court was today told that residential houses in Chandigarh could not be converted into apartments. But what was impermissible through the front door was being done through the back door. The Bench was also told that apartments were coming up in the city and the problem had become rampant, even though the Chandigarh Apartment Rules of 2001 stood repealed.

The apartment rules permitted the property owners to sell their real estate on a floor-wise basis, but were repealed way back in 2007 following protests by city residents against construction of apartments in place of bungalows. Appearing before the Division Bench of Chief Justice Ravi Shanker Jha and Justice Arun Palli, senior advocate Manmohan Lal Sarin submitted that he made certain recommendations to the Union Government during the UT Administrator’s Advisory Council meeting. Among other things, he had highlighted that the problem was rampant and apartments were coming up all over. As such, action was required to be taken. Sarin was appearing before the

Bench on behalf of the Sarin Memorial Legal Aid Foundation. Taking a note of the submissions, the Bench asked the UT Administration to inform it about the response to the recommendations by the council. It has been asked to communicate within two weeks the stand of the Union Home Ministry.

During the proceedings earlier, senior advocate Puneet Bali submitted that fragmentation of the residential properties was not allowed. But a builder would buy a house, get the plan sanctioned and sell it to “a”, “b” and “c” persons as individually they could not apply for sanction.

Bali added that the apartment rules stood repealed and the Board of Enquiry had made it clear that all averments in Chandigarh Master Plan-2031 regarding re-densification to accommodate growing population stood deleted. Yet, the builders were circumventing the laws and selling properties as shares.

Chandigarh had constituted a ‘Board of Enquiry and Hearing’ in November 2013 to look into objections and suggestions received before giving its recommendations.

The UT counsel, during the course of hearing, added that the Administration was not sanctioning floor-wise plans for residential properties.

The Bench was hearing a petition filed in public interest by the Sector 10 Residents’ Welfare Association on the rising of the apartments from the debris of bungalows.

The petitioner-association was seeking directions for restraining the UT Administration and its respondent-functionaries from permitting conversion of residential plots into apartments.

Appearing for the association, senior advocate DS Patwalia had initially added that the sale of floors to different individuals was prohibited. — TNS

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