SMP Violations: HC pulls up SMC

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SRINAGAR: Jammu and Kashmir High Court has pulled up Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) for not issuing notices to violoators of Srinagar Master Plan (SMP) whose building have been sealed and sought appearance of SMC commissinor.

The Court has directed Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) to file compliance report on inquiry initiated against them (officials) by the next date.

A division bench of the High Court, comprising Justices Muzaffar Hussain Attar and Ali Mohammad Magrey also pulled up SMC for not issuing notices to the violators of SMP whose buildings have been sealed and sought personal appearance of SMC Commissioner.

The court passed the directions on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed against about 3,000 violations in the Srinagar city.

The court said SMC authorities are acting remiss in taking action against the erring officials after the counsel for the corporation informed that inquiry was in progress.

The court disapproved the pace of inquiry after the SMC counsel informed that out of 42 officials, inquiry was going on against 27 officials.

The High Court has however, taken on record the affidavit of 95 officials including Joint Commissioner, Chief Khilafwarzi Officer, Khilafwarzi Officers and Building Inspectors of SMC on their property details.

The court asked the SMC counsel why he did not file the Action Taken Report (ATR) of 27 cases where the inquiries have been completed.

Directing the SMC to expedite the process of inquiries, the bench observed: ‘You are slow with these inquiries’

The court directed the SMC to file compliance report on the ATR against the erring officials by next week.

The court said in case ATR is not filed by next week, SMC Commissioner is directed to appear in person in the court.

The court also pulled up SMC after counsels of those whose buildings have been sealed on court directions, pleaded before the court that SMC is not complying with court direction in which it was said that SMC will issue notices to the aggrieved persons so that they could approach Special Tribunal against the sealing of their structures.

The lawyers submitted before the court that their clients are suffering due to the failure on part of SMC in issuing notices.

Taking a strong notice the bench said ‘What have you done with these notices. Tell your Commissioner to be present here. You are getting orders from this court for sealing and de-sealing and you are not doing anything on your part. You are destroying beauty of nature’.

The SMC sealed about 45 structures under court directions during the past few months. The court had directed the SMC to issue notices to these violators so that they can appeal before the Special Tribunal against the sealing of their structures. 

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