Chandigarh, July 29, 2021: Hearing a plea seeking regulation of the illegal sale of independent floors in Chandigarh, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has directed the UT Administration to carry out an exercise whereby in the first instance the properties/buildings would be identified from the office of the Estate Officer wherein sale of share(s), be it to the extent of 50 %, 30 % or 20 %, have been sold or transferred to a person outside the family of the original owner/shareholder.
The second step would be to carry out a physical inspection of such identified buildings/dwelling units to find out as to whether the sale of share(s) has actually translated into the buyer occupying an independent floor in the otherwise composite dwelling unit or to find out as to whether independent floors are in the process of being constructed commensurate to the share(s) that has been purchased in such dwelling unit, the High Court directed.
The bench of Justice Tejinder Singh Dhindsa and Justice Vivek Puri held that it would be open for the official respondents to seek the cooperation and assistance of the concerned police authorities and law enforcement agencies to facilitate the carrying out of the physical inspection of the premises in question.
“We further direct that this entire exercise be carried out under the supervision of the Chief Architect, UT Chandigarh,” the Bench said.
The Bench held that to ensure that such exercise does not become overly time consuming and the object is only towards a fact finding exercise, it is of the view that it ought to be a sample exercise. “The same be confined from the date of filing of the instant petition till 31.12.2019. Still further the exercise to confine only with regard to residential buildings”, it directed.
The petition was filed by different Resident Welfare Associations seeking issuance of directions to restrain official respondents from permitting residential plots in the Union Territory of Chandigarh which are single dwelling units to be constructed or utilised as apartments.
It has been projected on behalf of the petitioners that such activity is not permitted and rather expressly barred under the existing rules, regulations and by-laws of the UT Administration.
It was further submitted that in 2001, the Chandigarh Administration notified Rules called the Chandigarh Apartment Rules, 2001 whereby even single residential units wherever they existed in the city of Chandigarh could be subdivided into apartments.
There was a huge outcry against the provision for having apartments, on the ground that such activity would completely alter and finish the character of the city and the existing infrastructure in terms of sewerage, water, electricity, parking, traffic etc. was wholly insufficient to take on the extra load. Under such a situation, the Apartment Rules of 2001 were repealed by a notification dated 01.10.2007.
However, a large number of single dwelling units are being surreptitiously converted into apartments, the plea claimed. The precise contention raised was that residential plots being self-contained independent units cannot be further subdivided into separate units and neither sale of independent units even floor wise is liable to be permitted.