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Construct flats within a year: High Court

Construct flats within a year: High Court


Tribune News Service

Saurabh Malik

Chandigarh, June 8

More than a decade after a housing scheme was launched for UT employees but self-financing dwelling units were not dispensed with to the applicants, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has directed the UT Administration and the Chandigarh Housing Board to commence constructions of flats within two months and complete the process within a year.

The direction is significant as 3,930 applicants/employees were declared successful in the draw of lots after they applied for the units in pursuance to an advertisement regarding the scheme. The Bench observed it was incumbent upon the Board to deposit 25 per cent of the land costs with the UT Administration within the stipulated time. But the Board failed to deposit the amount within the stipulated time.

“No fault can be found at the instance of applicants/employees as they had deposited Rs 57 crore as earnest money with the Board, whereas the latter was required to deposit approximately Rs 43 crore with the UT Administration to comply with the letters of intent dated January 10, 2008,” the Bench of Justice Sureshwar Thakur and Justice Lalit Batra asserted. The judgment was pronounced on May 30, but has been uploaded now.

In its detailed 106-page judgment, Justice Batra, speaking for the Bench, directed the Board to ensure “encumbrance free delivery of possession of flats” to the petitioners-successful employees within two months thereafter, along with all amenities provided to all dwelling units. The direction was subject to successful employees depositing the remainder amount in terms of the scheme as well as proportionate escalation of construction costs.

“Needless to mention here that cost of the entire land meant for the implementation of the scheme, 2008, would remain Rs 7,920 per square yard,” the Bench added.

The petition in the matter was filed way back in 2013. A substantial number of employees since then have retired from service upon attaining the age of superannuation and some of them are staying in rented accommodations. Available information suggests, some of the applicants have even expired over the years.

The development took place on petitions filed by Phool Kumar Saini and other petitioners against the Chandigarh Housing Board and another respondent. The petitioners were seeking directions to the Chandigarh Housing Board and another respondent to implement the Self-Financing Housing Scheme-2008 on leasehold basis for 99 years for UT Administration employees.

The Court was told that the housing scheme for the employees was launched in February 2008 by the UT, Chandigarh. The draw of lots was held on November 4, 2010, and approximately 3,950 employees were successful. But nothing was apparently done by the CHB. Even acceptance-cum-demand letters were not issued to the successful applicants and “the bureaucrats at high level were sleeping over the matter”.

The petitioners had added that the CHB was apparently more interested in providing houses to encroachers. They were getting houses and tenements free of costs as “in all this the CHB gets an opportunity to do bungling”.

On the other hand, the successful applicants like the petitioners having a legitimate right to get a house by making payment as prescribed in the brochure were “left in doldrums”. The petitioners claimed they were also being “prejudiced severely”.

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