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Conscious decision to avoid mass demolition: State to HC

The legislature in its wisdom has taken a conscious legislative policy decision with the purpose to avoid the demolition of such a large number of un-authorised constructions as these are neither feasible nor desirable. This was contended by the state government before the High Court on a petition challenging the HP Town and Country Planning Regularisation Amendment Act, 2016, which was brought to give a chance to the public to regularise their buildings.

It was further contended by the state that the Legislature while making the provisions of regularisation had not compromised with safety measures under the relevant laws and structure stability requirements. It was further defended by the state that the aforesaid Act was passed in conformity with the guidelines framed by the Supreme Court in this regard.

After hearing the arguments of the state, a Division Bench comprising acting Chief Justice Sanjay Karol and Justice Tarlok Singh Chauhan adjourned the matter for further hearing on September 20 as the hearing on the same could not be concluded today. The court passed this order on the bunch of petitions alleging that the action of the state government regarding regularising the unauthorised construction was illegal and against the interest of the public at large.

In its earlier order, the court had restrained the authorities from taking any final decision on the applications submitted by the applicants for regularising their buildings without the leave of the court.The Assembly had given nod to the HP Town and Country Planning (HPTCP Amendment) Bill, 2016, on August 28, 2016, which was brought to provide a chance to the public to regularise their buildings. The Act included the provision to regularise all construction on ‘as is where is basis’. However, no unsafe building would be regularised in the state as per the condition imposed by the Act.The Act has special provision for a specific period of one year as a ‘one time’ exemption by charging deterrent composition fee instead of demolition of such large scale un-authorised constructions.

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