HC asks for govt’s ‘policy’ that applies to illegal, unauthorised constructions

SRINAGAR: The J&K High Court on Monday directed the state government to produce before it the policy which has been formulated to scrutinise applications for regularisation of illegal and unauthorised constructions in cities of Srinagar, Jammu and Katra.
The court directed the government to file the policy document by February 14, 2018.
Hearing a PIL filed by Advocate Mujeeb Andrabi in 2013 on the sealing of illegal constructions, a division bench of the High Court comprising Justice Mohammad Yaqoob Mir and Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey directed the state counsel, BA Dar, to produce the government’s policy in this matter.
The J&K government had constituted empowered committees to scrutinise applications for regularisation of illegal and unauthorised constructions in the cities of Srinagar, Jammu and Katra. The Divisional Commissioner Kashmir was selected as chairman of the Empowered Committee for Srinagar City. The other members were Vice Chairman SDA (Srinagar Development Authority), Chief Engineer PW (R&B) Kashmir, Chief Engineer Irrigation and Flood Control Department, Kashmir, Deputy Commissioner Srinagar, Budgam and Ganderbal, Commissioner SMC (Srinagar Municipal Corporation), and Chief Town Planner, Town Planning Organisation Kashmir.
Similar committees were formed for Jammu and Katra cities.
The order by which the committees were constituted said, “The terms and reference of the Empowered Committees shall be to bring the illegal and unauthorised buildings, constructions and land use or building use conversions into the planning framework to the extent possible. The committees shall facilitate the implementation of the masterplan under revision and shall scrutinise all the documents as prescribed by the Competent Authority, submitted before the Empowered Committee in connection with compounding, regularisation of layout, plots, buildings which have been constructed and completed before 31-12-2016.”
On March 5, 2014, the J&K government enacted a new Act to protect, for one year, thousands of unauthorised constructions in Srinagar and Jammu cities as well as in Katra, a small town in Udhampur district.
The provisions of the Act did not protect buildings under construction or structures whose construction had not been completed on the date that the Act came into force (March 5, 2014). The Act also did not apply to the buildings and structures constructed on public land, road or other public utility, and also to constructions not complying with safety measures, if any, issued by the government.