Himachal Court Talks Tough About Illegal Constructions

Shimla: Slamming the state governments move to regularise unauthorised urban constructions that blatantly violate hill town planning laws, a bench of the High Court today hit out saying, “over indulgence by the state to dishonest persons may ultimately lead to anarchy and would also destroy the democratic polity.”

The court made the observation on the government recent move of moving a bill in the recently concluded monsoon session of the Vidhan Sabha that sought to protect the law breakers by offering relief in regularising unauthorised constructions to urban constructions. The bill was unanimously adopted by the assembly and now awaits the nod of the Governor to be made into the new law that overturns the old law.

Shimla buildings

“Law and action of the state to regularise unauthorised construction or encroachment is suggestive of non-governance,” observed Justice Rajiv Sharma and Justice Sureshwar Thakur in a 34 page order convicting a forest guard over his involvement in an illegal tree felling case, after setting aside a lower court judgement.

“It is expected from the state to maintain rule of law,” and the state  government should not regularise encroachments and unauthorised construction,” the judges stated.

The court also pointed out that unauthorised constructions were not raised overnight. The government machinery had remained a mute spectator by letting the people to raise unauthorised constructions and also encroach upon the government land. First permitting unauthorised construction in plain sight of the authorities and later regularising them amounted to failure of constitutional machinery.It also observed that thousands of building are being regularised which are not even structurally safe.

“The State machinery has adopted ostrich like attitude. The honest persons are at the receiving end and the persons who have raised unauthorised construction are being encouraged to break the law. This attitude also violates the human rights of the honest citizens, who have raised their construction in accordance with law,” Justice Rajiv Sharma, writing for the bench observes.

“The State holds the government property as a trustee and cannot be privy to its destruction. The state property cannot be permitted to be taken over by unscrupulous persons,” the order states.

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