Conversion Of Residential Into Commercial: HC Directive to SMC

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J&K High Court – File Photo

Srinagar: The High Court has directed Srinagar Municipal Corporation to ensure that there is no illegal conversion of residential properties into commercial properties and take steps for complete compliance of Master Plan provisions.

Hearing a Public Interest Litigation, a division bench of Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Puneet Gupta also prohibited all authorities from issuance of any licences or permissions to properties which are being illegally used for commercial purposes in contravention of Master Plan or the sanctioned building plan.

“It needs no elaboration that a building plan is sanctioned for a specific purpose and a building constructed under such sanctioned plan has to be used for that purpose alone and nothing else,” the court said.

The court also directed officials to ensure that the status report as ordered by it previously is positively filed before the next date of hearing on October 15.

The directions followed submissions by Senior Counsel and Amicus Curaie R. A. Jan that the authorities was not complying with the orders passed by the Court to disclose the action taken by them regarding the illegal structures constructed.

“The SMC shall ensure that there is no illegal conversion of residential properties into commercial properties and take steps for complete compliance of Master Plan provisions,” the court said, adding, “All Government authorities shall stand interdicted from issuance of any licences or permissions to properties which are being illegally used for commercial purposes in contravention of Master Plan or the sanctioned building plan.”

It also directed that the copy of the order be sent to Secretary Law for circulation to JMC, SMC and all other concerned departments and licensing authorities who shall ensure compliances.

The PIL was filed by advocate Mujeeb Andrabi in 2013, seeking among other directions to clear Srinagar city of illegal constructions.

After high court directions calling for razing the illegal structures, the then government passed a legislation, providing moratorium on sealing of illegal constructions till December 2015. Later then PDP-BJP government also followed the suit. Later some policy was decision purportedly taken. (GNS)

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