HC seeks details on illegal buildings, shopping malls

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Srinagar—The Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Monday sought latest status report from the authorities regarding structures and buildings including shopping malls in Srinagar which have been raised in violation of building permission and Master Plan. 

As a PIL on the issue came up for hearing before a division bench of Chief Justice Badar Durrez Ahmad and Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey, Additional Advocate General B A Dar submitted that the records pertaining to the PIL got destroyed in 2014 floods. 

With these submissions, the court directed its registry to provide the digital copy of the records without court orders to the counsel. “You allowed commercial buildings in residential areas as also these buildings without parking facility,”, the court observed and directed him to file the response in the matter by October 22. 

The court way back in the year 2013 had issued directions for sealing of illegal complexes and malls as those buildings were raised in contravention of Master Plan and building by-laws.

In 5 March 2014, the J&K government headed by then National Conference formally enacted the new Act to protect for one year the unauthorized constructions ordered to be demolished by the state high court in September 30, 2013. The moratorium was initially granted for one year but PDP-BJP alliance too followed the foot-steps of NC-Congress combine and extended the freeze on action against unauthorized constructions till December 31, 2015. Now the government has extended it to March next year. 

Pertinently, the provisions of the Act will not protect under construction or the buildings and structures which had been not completed on date of commencement of the Act (March 5, 2014).

The Act will not also apply on buildings and structures constructed on public land, road or other public utility and also to constructions not complying safety measures, if any issued by the government. 

As noted by the court then, there are approximately 3000 illegal constructions in Srinagar alone and on September 30, 2013 it directed the SMC to seal all unauthorized buildings identified by it.

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