P&H HC | There is no requirement in law that a person applying for sanction of the building plan, has to prove his ownership before the building plan can be sanctioned

Punjab and Haryana High Court: Anil Kshetarpal, J., while addressing the instant petition against the impugned order of Deputy Commissioner expressed that, “Compassionate empathy should be one of the trait/quality of everyone manning a public office. The persons holding such offices are required to be more sympathetic and compassionate while dealing with downtrodden and uneducated persons.”

 Facts of the case are such that, the petitioner was in possession of a small building and Haryana Wakf Board was owner of the land underneath that building. The grievance of the petitioner was that since level of the road, passing in front of the building, had been increased, therefore, rainy/dirty water started getting accumulated in the premises and the building had also developed certain cracks. In spite of several applications for permission to reconstruct the said building, no response had been received from the officials of Municipal Committee. Therefore, construction work was carried out by the petitioner, to which the Municipal Committee had sent a notice under Section 208 of the Haryana Municipal Act, 1973 (“the Act”) directing the petitioner to stop the construction and demolish whatever construction had already been carried out. The Petitioner again requested for approval and submitted a building plan, which was rejected on the grounds that the building plan had been filed without deposit of the required fee and the petitioner had failed to provide evidence of ownership. Consequently, the premise was sealed by the authorities. The petitioner filed an appeal before the Deputy Commissioner, which was dismissed with the finding that there was no error in the order of Municipal Committee.

The Court observed that, “the entire emphasise of the legislature while enacting the Haryana Municipal Act, 1973 was to encourage the residents to erect the buildings after getting the building plan sanctioned and if some buildings have been erected or re-erected in violation thereof and such construction is found within the permissible limits, then the construction should be regularised or the violation should be compounded and the officials are expected to deal with such violation with compassion in such matters.” The Court said, Municipal Committee had failed to draw attention of the Court to any requirement of law requiring a person who had applied for sanction of the building plan, to prove his ownership before the building plan could be sanctioned. Further, it was held that, till the time the petitioner continues to be in possession of the said land he is entitled to repair/ renovate/reconstruct the building existing therein. Setting aside the order passed by the Municipal Committee and affirmed by the Deputy Commissioner, the Court stated that sealing of the property was an undoubtedly arbitrary exercise of power. Hence, the petition was disposed of with further directions that the petitioner should submit a fresh application for post facto approval of the building plan within one month from the date of the judgment and the officials of Municipal Committee were directed to process the same in accordance with law within 6 months. [Devender Kumar v. State of Haryana, 2020 SCC OnLine P&H 2360, decided on 16-12-2020]

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