Surat Coaching Centre Fire: Gujrat High Court Notice To Govt. On PIL For Sealing Of All Buildings Violating Bye-Laws

The Gujarat High Court on Thursday issued notice to the State government and others on a PIL calling for sealing of all buildings which violate the building bye-laws and cancellation of licences of the violators to prevent a repeat of the fire tragedy that struck the coaching institute in Sarthana, Surat killing 22 students.

The court also issued notice on prayer made in the PIL that the government should bring out a mandatory fire insurance coverage for all buildings including banquets, coaching classes, schools.

The PIL has been moved by Sajeev Bhargav Ezhava, a civil work contractor from Surat through advocates Vishal Dave and Nipun Singhvi stressing how sever violations of building bye-laws are being overlooked across the State. Besides the three prayers on which notice has been issued, the PIL also urges the court to direct constitution of a Special Investigation Team and a judicial commission to fix the accountability of public officials and private persons in the fire tragedy.

Ezhava has also prayed that a SIT be constituted to conduct probe into all FIRs registered in the matter and report be submitted before the court. The petitioner has urged the court to direct the government agencies to ensure fire and lift safety measures in every building in accordance with the National Building Code of India, 2016 and other local laws.

He has also called for a ‘Centralised Audit Mechanism’ for a periodical audit of all buildings of public access such as malls, schools, educational institutions etc and a third party audit after completion of all high-rises. The petition also prays that no completion certificate should be issued to any builder is the structure is not compliant with the laws and called for sealing of all buildings which are in violation of building bye-laws.

Bombay High Court directs police to file case against Munde in illegal land purchase case

The Bombay High Court Tuesday directed police to file a case against Dhananjay Munde, the leader of opposition in the Maharashtra Legislative Council, in connection with alleged illegal purchase of government land in Beed district.

A division bench of Justices T V Nalawade and K K Sonawane gave the directions on the petition filed by one Rajabhau Phad.

According to the petition, the land at Pus village in Ambajogai tehsil of Beed belongs to the government and was given to the Belkhandi Math in Beed as gift when Ranit Wyanka Giri was its mahant.

However, as per law, the land cannot be transferred without the government’s permission.

But after the death of Giri, his heirs transferred the land in their names and claimed that they are its owners and the government was not informed about it.

The land was later bought by Munde on the basis of a general power of attorney in 2012. Munde applied for non-agricultural status (NA) of the land and got it, the petition alleged.

Phad had approached the Bardapur police station in Beed seeking a criminal case to be lodged against Munde, his wife and others.

However, when the police failed to initiate a probe, Phad approached the high court claiming that the land originally belonged to the government and hence, cannot be sold to anyone.

He sought an FIR be lodged under IPC Sections 420 (cheating), 467, 468 and 471 (forgery) against Munde, his wife and 15 others.

Munde’s lawyer Siddheshwar Thombre said there was a dispute between the then Math mahant and priest of the trust on this land.

He said the matter was taken to court and on the basis of decree, another person became the owner of the land, adding that in 2012, Munde bought the land from that person by adhering to all legal procedures.

It was not mentioned anywhere that the land belonged to the government, Munde’s lawyer said while asserting that the entire process was legal.

The Aurangabad bench of the high court, however, said prima facie it appears the government land was usurped and hence, directed the Bardapur police to file a case against Munde and others and probe the allegations.

Thombre later told reporters that they would move the Supreme Court.

Reacting to the court order, Munde asserted that the land for the Jagmitra Sugar Mills was purchased “as per rules and without hoodwinking anyone”.

He accused Phad of filing the complaint against him out of “political vendetta”. Phad is the son-in-law of businessman Ratnakar Gutte, whom Munde had previously accused of securing loan in the name of farmers.

Munde also said he would approach the apex court against the high court’s order.

The NCP leader had last year alleged that Gutte got loans of over Rs 5,400 crore on the basis of fake documents made in the name of farmers.

Munde then also alleged that Gutte, the promoter of Gangakhed Sugar and Energy Limited in the state’s Parbhani district, had transferred bank loans obtained by various firms into different accounts.

“The land meant for the mill was purchased as per rules, without hoodwinking any organisation, individual or the government. The ruling was obtained from the honourable high court through Phad out of political vendetta, as I had raised a matter relating to Gutte,” Munde said in a statement.

He said documents relating to the mill support his position that there was nothing wrong in the purchase of land and exuded confidence that the Supreme Court will give him relief in the case.

“I raise voice on the issues of public concern and that’s why such conspiracy is devised against me ahead of each session of the legislature. I will keep raising voice against the government no matter how many personal attacks are directed at me,” Munde added.

Indiabulls Housing Moves Supreme Court For Listing Of Plea Against It Alleging Misappropriation Of Funds

The Indiabulls Housing Finance Ltd (IHFL) Wednesday moved the Supreme Court seeking an urgent listing of a plea filed against it in which it has been alleged that the company misappropriated Rs 98,000 crore of public money.

Senior advocate A M Singhvi, appearing for the company, mentioned the matter for urgent listing before a vacation bench comprising justices Indira Banerjee and Ajay Rastogi.

Singhvi told the bench that frivolous allegations have been levelled against the company in the petition and the plea was leaked to the media.

He said that due to the media reports regarding filing of the petition against the company, IHFL, has incurred loss of around Rs 7,000 crore of its market share.

The bench said it would take a decision during the course of the day about listing of the plea.

Indiabulls Housing Moves Supreme Court For Listing Of Plea Against It Alleging Misappropriation Of Funds

The Indiabulls Housing Finance Ltd (IHFL) Wednesday moved the Supreme Court seeking an urgent listing of a plea filed against it in which it has been alleged that the company misappropriated Rs 98,000 crore of public money.

Senior advocate A M Singhvi, appearing for the company, mentioned the matter for urgent listing before a vacation bench comprising justices Indira Banerjee and Ajay Rastogi.

Singhvi told the bench that frivolous allegations have been levelled against the company in the petition and the plea was leaked to the media. He said that due to the media reports regarding filing of the petition against the company, IHFL, has incurred loss of around Rs 7,000 crore of its market share.

The bench said it would take a decision during the course of the day about listing of the plea.

Review Petition Filed In Supreme Court Against Order Directing Demolition Of Kochi Flats For Alleged CRZ Violation

A day before the deadline set by the Supreme Court for demolition of three apartments in Maradu, Kochi for violation of CRZ norms, one of the builders has filed an application for review of the May 8 judgment. The review petition states that the demolition order was passed by the Court on an erroneous understanding that Maradu area was included in CRZ-III area. The bench did not notice that the area was categorized as CRZ-II as per the Coastal Zone Management Plan prepared for the area as per CRZ 2011 notification, which was approved by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests on February 28, the petition states.

Therefore, at present, a construction of the like nature is legal and permissible in the area, contends the review petition filed by Holy Faith Builders and Developers, the builder of the apartment named “H2O”.

The bench of Justices Arun Mishra and Navin Sinha had passed the order based on the report of a three-member committee appointed by the Court which stated that when the constructions were made, the area was designated as CRZ-III, where such constructions are prohibited. The Court had also noted that Panchayat had granted the building permits without the concurrence of the Coastal Zone Management Authority, which was mandatory. According to the bench, the relevant issue was whether the constructions were legal when they were made, and not whether they are permissible now. o The bench also took judicial notice of the floods faced by the state last year and observed that it had taken place “due to such unbridled construction activities resulting into collossal loss of human life and property”. The authorities were directed to implement the order within a month. The review petition alleges that the three-member committee consisting of the Secretary to the Local Self Government Department, the Chief Municipal officer of the concerned Municipality and the Collector of the District had not heard all affected parties before submitting the report. The demolition order against three apartments will affect nearly 400 families, the petition points out. Maradu area, though a Panchayat at the time of construction, is a suburb of Kochi city, and was upgraded to a Municipality in 2010. The builder argues that Maradu is a fully developed urban area, and is not adjacent to coastal area. The 1991 CRZ notification does not bring canals within its ambit, submits the review petitioner. The review petition filed through Advocate A Karthik has referred to the SC order in the case of DLF apartments in Kochi, where the Court had held that the builder cannot be held liable for the failure of authorities to take timely action. There the Court had found that the KCZMA had flip-flopped on whether there was any violation. Meanwhile the construction was completed on the basis of a deemed environmental clearance which accrued to the builder due to the authority’s inaction, and the authority thought of acting against the alleged violation only after the completion of the construction. This approach was deprecated by the SC, which observed that a developer cannot be left in the lurch due to the indecisiveness of the authorities. In the instant case, the KCZMA did not act promptly against the alleged violations, and did not question the building permits issued to the builders, argues the builder in the review petition. On May 26, the SC had dismissed an application filed by a resident seeking extension of time.

Homosexuality is not an offence in India, Supreme Court Ends Section 377

NEW DELHI: It is one of the world’s oldest laws criminalizing consensual gay sex, and after weeks of deliberation, Supreme Court has ruled to decriminalise gay sex in a unanimous verdict handed down by a five-judge panel.

Chief justices Dipak Misra said  “No one can escape from their individualism. Society is now better for individualism. In the present case, our deliberations will be on various spectrums.”

The bench also comprising  justices DY Chandrachud, AM Khanwilkar, Indu Malhotra, and Rohinton Fali Nariman

Previously, gay sex had been punishable by up to 10 years in prison under section 377 of the IPC. The high court had decriminalised consensual gay sex in 2009 but the top court had cancelled the order four years later, ruling that only parliament should be changing laws.

However In 2016, the Supreme Court, agreed to hear a petition by five prominent members of the LGBT, or lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

In 2001, the Naz Foundation, a New Delhi-based NGO that works in the field of HIV/AIDS prevention, had challenged the section in the Delhi high court which ruled in favour and said that the law does not apply to consenting adults.

HC directs DDA to handover flat to a family, 39 years after booking

New Delhi: A family’s tireless wait of 39 years for a DDA flat seems to be ending soon, with the Delhi High Court directing the landowning agency to hand over its possession to the allottee while pulling it up for its “non-caring attitude”.

The court held cancellation of the allotment of the residential flat to the family as illegal and contrary to law and said the case revealed a “sordid state of affairs” as the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) has failed to maintain records.

A Delhi resident had applied for the flat in the DDA’s residential scheme in 1979 and was declared successful for the allotment. The man, J C Madan, died in 1984 and his wife and son were pursuing the matter with the authorities.

“The application by the husband of plaintiff no. 1 (wife Kaushalya) and father of plaintiff no.2 dates back to 1979. The family has waited for more than 39 years for allotment of a MIG flat. The record speaks volumes of the complete non-caring attitude of an authority like the DDA.

“The demand cum allotment letter has been generated in multiple originals and not a single one of them was sent and delivered to the plaintiffs. Thus, the cancellation is illegal and contrary to law,” Justice Prathiba M Singh said.

The court granted a decree in favour of Madan’s wife for a flat in Dwarka’s Sector 13 on payment of Rs 10.16 lakh by them to the DDA by July 31.

It directed the agency to handover the possession of the flat to the family within four weeks of receiving the payment and said in case this flat was not available, they should be given another one.

The court also said that a copy of its order be sent to the Lieutenant Governor and Vice Chairman of DDA for issuing appropriate orders and directions with regard to maintenance of records by the agency DDA and for considering setting up an online feature on its portal to enable proper and complete tracking of current status of files and correspondence.

The DDA had claimed in the court that the family had informed it late about the death of the original allottee and also sent the demand-cum-allotment letter to their address. But it was cancelled due to non-payment of the amount.

It had also alleged that the family had not informed it about change of their address.

The family, however, had said that they had informed the agency about their new residential address on time.

The court said the original record of the DDA was absolutely sketchy and it only contained few pages and there was no other document in it.

“The files of the DDA go to show that it does not preserve (for whatever reason) the correspondence in a proper manner. There is no method by which a citizen can ascertain as to whether his/her letters have reached the DDA and if so how long he/she should wait for a reply. For an ordinary litigant, approaching court is the last resort.

“This entire litigation after the allotment in 2002 could have been completely avoided if there was proper maintenance of correspondence by the DDA. The DDA would have known that there was a change of address through the letter sent by the plaintiffs. Even in 2006, the DDA came out with the policy for considering the individual cases but it still did not consider the plaintiffs case,” the court said.

Plea to nullify land acquisition for road project filed in MHC

Chennai:  In the Madras High Court today a petition seeking to declare as null and void the entire land acquisition proceedings initiated for the proposed greenfield Chennai-Salem highway project was filed.
The plea also sought to declare as unconstitutional and null and void section 105 of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 and the Fourth Schedule to the Act.
Poovulagin Nanbargal, an organisation, contended that the authorities concerned have already started land acquisition proceedings under the National Highways Act, 1956 in respect of the project even before receiving objections from the people likely to be affected by it.
On June 11, the authorities had issued a notification inviting objections within 21 days of its issuance, the petitioner said.

According to the petitioner, the laudable object of the Act is to ensure, in consultation with institutions of local government and gram sabhas, a humane, participative, informed and transparent process for land acquisition for industrialisation, among other things, with least disturbance to the owners of the land and other affected families.

But contrary to the very object of the Act, section 105 provides that the provisions of the Act shall not apply to the land acquisition under the enactments specified in the Fourth Schedule to the Act, which includes the National Highways Act.
The organisation claimed that section 105 perpetuates discriminatory treatment on the owners of the land acquired under the National Highways Act.

The owners of the land acquired under the Act and the owners of the land acquired under the enactments mentioned in the Fourth Schedule are similarly placed, the petitioner said.
But they are treated in a discriminatory manner in the sense that the beneficiary mandatory provisions would be non-existent to those whose lands acquired under enactments mentioned in the Fourth Schedule to the Act, the petitioner added.
The plea is expected to come up on Friday.

Sealing: regular bench to consider allegations of inaction, says SC

New Delhi:  Already seized with the contentious issue of sealing of unauthorised constructions in the national capital,the Supreme Court today left it to its bench, to consider the allegations of inaction by civic bodies in going ahead with the sealing drive.

A vacation bench comprising justices U U Lalit and Deepak Gupta said that reports filed in this regard by the monitoring committee, which is mandated by the top court to identify and seal unauthorised constructions in Delhi, should be considered by the regular bench which is hearing the matter.
In its two reports, the committee has claimed that civic agencies, including the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC), have refused to carry out the sealing drive on the grounds that amendments in the Master Plan of Delhi-2021 were not finalised yet and the issue of notifying mixed-land use along 351 roads was pending in the apex court.

“We are sitting in a vacation court. We have not dealt with the matter. Another bench is dealing with it,” the bench said, adding, “Let this matter be listed before the regular bench”.

Justice Lalit also observed that the Delhi government’s application on the issue relating to notifying mixed-land use along 351 roads here was under consideration of a bench headed by Justice Madan B Lokur that had posted it for hearing on July 11.

The move of notifying mixed-land use along 351 roads is intended to avoid sealing drive against commercial establishments along these roads.

“Why should we, at this juncture, hear this?,” the bench said, adding, “the application (by Delhi government) was not rejected outright (by the court) then why we should change the course?”
“If that bench had granted you time (to respond), this means that they must have something in mind,” the bench said.
“We deem it appropriate that report numbers 120 and 121 (filed by the committee) be listed before the bench taking up these matters on July 11. We give liberty to the amicus curiae to mention the matter before the court immediately after re-opening of court in case of any urgency,” the bench said.
On June 12, the amicus had mentioned the matter before the bench for urgent listing.

HC restrains housing project owner

New Delhi:More home buyers have dragged the owner and builder of a housing project in Dwarka to the Delhi High Court which restrained realtors from cancelling their allotment as they have not taken possession of flats which allegedly lack even basic amenities.

Justice V Kameswar Rao restrained Uppal Housing Pvt Ltd, on whose land the complex is built, and Umang Realtech Pvt Ltd, the developer, till July 6 from cancelling the allotment of these 12 home buyers.

The housing project Winter Hills is located next to Dwarka Mor Metro Station in south west Delhi.
“Till the next date of hearing in the court, the respondent nos. 3 and 4 (Uppal and Umang) shall not cancel the allotment letter of the petitioners (home buyers),” the judge said.

The Delhi court issued notice and sought response of SDMC, owner and builder of the project and RERA on the homebuyer’s plea, filed through advocate Sanam Siddiqui, and fixed the matter for July 6 for proceedings before a joint registrar.

The court had on May 28 passed a similar order on a separate petition by other home buyers who have also made identical allegations against the project owner and developer.

In the fresh petition, Siddiqui said, the home buyers have sought quashing of occupancy certificate granted to the project owner and builder by the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) alleging that the project lacks basic amenities, licences and necessary approvals.

It claimed that the buyers were threatened with cancellation of their allotment and some of them have paid nearly Rs two crore for a unit in the project.

The advocate in the earlier petition had submitted that the website of RERA (Delhi) does not state that the developer has received registration number and alleged that it was a clear case where the “developer was acting with impunity and state authorities were helping him”.

The court had said that at this stage it was not going into the issue of staying the advertisement issued by the developer in newspapers that it was in receipt of RERA registration number.

In February, the high court  had issued notice to the SDMC, Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA), Umang Realtech Pvt Ltd and Uppal Housing Pvt Ltd seeking their response on the petition which has sought direction to quash the occupancy certificate issued by the civic body.

The plea has claimed that home buyers who have taken possession are facing problems due to lack of basic amenities and necessary facilities, including electricity and water.

It claimed that the project was launched thrice- 2006, 2009 and 2011 and most of the home buyers booked flats in 2011 and were promised delivery in 2014.

However, the project was not completed by 2014, and while the home buyers waited for delivery of their apartments, they found certain discrepancies, it has claimed.

The home buyers have said the authorities are not willing to provide them documents relating to clearances which the project has received.