Illegal buildings: Telangana high court raps GHMC
The Telangana High Court directed all six zonal commissioners with the GHMC to furnish reports on illegal buildings along with details on action taken against them.
Hyderabad: Illegal buildings, The Telangana High Court on Thursday came down heavily on the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) for failing to act against illegal buildings and unauthorised constructions. The Bench even warned of issuing orders recommending action against municipal officials for failing to act against illegal construction activity in Hyderabad.
A bench of Chief Justice Hima Kohli and Justice B Vijaysen Reddy directed all six zonal commissioners with the GHMC to furnish reports on illegal buildings along with details on action taken against them. The court also sought a report with details on action taken against errant staff across all 30 circles, who were found to be in cahoots with those illegally constructing buildings, the Times of India reported. The bench sought details on who grants building permissions and the names of assistant city planners and town planning officials across the 30 circles.
The court was hearing two petitions filed by G Nageswar Rao and G Praveen Kumar, seeking to stop the demolition of building floors that were constructed illegally. One of the petitioners had permission from the GHMC to construct a two-storey building at Kukatpally but built an additional three floors illegally. When GHMC sent a demolition notice, the building owner approached a civil court seeking a stay. A single bench judge referred the case to the bench of the Chief Justice to take up the issue as a public interest litigation on illegal constructions in the city.
High Court Judgement:
The Telangana High Court has now sought details from the GHMC on all individual owners who have approached civil courts and obtained stay orders on demolition. The municipality is also to inform the court if they have filed petitions to vacate stay orders in response. The bench has also asked if an earlier court direction to host display boards indicating a building was an illegal structure was being followed.
The Telangana High Court had earlier directed the GHMC to file an affidavit on whether it plans to take penal action against officials under whose jurisdiction such illegal constructions have come up. In response, the special counsel representing the state, Harender Pershad, filed a response with details on action taken by GHMC’s vigilance wing against illegal buildings and encroachers.
The court, however, expressed dissatisfaction with the report. The bench pointed out that the report said nothing about action on municipal staff “who connived with the wrongdoers”. The GHMC has time until the next hearing on April 15 to respond to the court.