CHENNAI: The member-secretary of Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) has received a rap over the knuckles from the Madras high court for “wilful disobedience of court orders” pertaining to unauthorised constructions. The court also said there was “complete paralysis in decision-making” along with “deliberate attempt to scuttle orders” from the state government despite court directives.

“Let notice of contempt be issued to the member secretary. The contemptor to remain present in court,” said the first bench of Chief Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice R Mahadevan, posting the matter to November 16 for further hearing. Earlier, a batch of petitions were filed seeking directions from the court to restrain the authorities from allowing blatant violations of building and safety rules through post-facto regularisation schemes. In August 2006, the high court had set aside the regularisation schemes from 2001 to 2003. It also directed for constituting the CMDA monitoring committee headed by its member secretary.

Underscoring the discrepancies in the meetings of the committee, a committee member then filed a petition to convene an emergency meeting. The court, in July 2016, directed the committee to hold meetings each month. Despite this, no meeting was held, said the bench adding, the recommendations of Justice Rajeswaran committee remained non-notified. The committee had recommended framing guidelines for implementing Section 113-C of Tamil Nadu Town and Country Planning Act, 1971, which allowed regularisation for unauthorised buildings constructed before July 2007. Last month, the high court had said, “Unless the rules under Section 113-C were notified and framed, those illegal structures could not be regularised.”

“One wonders if the authorities are only waiting for some mishap to occur before they take any action,” said the bench adding, an example of security measures not being adhered to was the absence of display boards showing whether the buildings comply with fire safety rules. It also said (on October 7, 2016), the court had “granted one final opportunity” to finalise the rules within three months. The bench said, “on one hand, no decision no decision has been taken in the policy matter and on the other the meetings are also not being called for”.

The compliance report of CMDA pertained only to cut off date of February 23, 1999(as prescribed by state government) for regularisation applications . It showed 2% of the applications for regularising unauthorised buildings constructed after February 23, 1999, were approved, while 86% were rejected. 5% of the applications along with 1,300 others yet had to be processed.

The bench directing the CMDA to convene a meeting within a week.

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Source: TOI-Che