CHANDIGARH: The Punjab and Haryana high court has directed the UT administration to carry out a sample survey of estate office residential properties sold in the city between 2016 to December 31, 2019, on 50%, 30% and 20% basis to a person outside the family of the original owner or shareholder.
The court has directed the chief architect to conduct the survey within two weeks, fixing August 11 as the next date of hearing on a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by the Sector 10 Residents’ Welfare Association on the raising of apartments from the debris of bungalows.
A division bench of Justice Tejinder Singh Dhindsa and Justice Vivek Puri, in its order said, “We direct the administration to forthwith carry out an exercise whereby in the first instance properties would be identified from the office of the estate officer where the record of the rights is maintained wherein sale of share(s), be it to the extent of 50 %, 30 % or 20 %, has been sold to a person outside the family of the original owner/shareholder.”
“The second step would be to carry out a physical inspection of such buildings to find out as to whether the sale of share(s) has actually translated into the buyer occupying an independent floor in the otherwise composite dwelling unit or to find out as to whether independent floors are in the process of being constructed commensurate to the share(s) that has been purchased in such dwelling unit. It would be open for the official respondents (UT) to seek the co-operation of the law enforcement agencies to facilitate the physical inspection of the premises in question…”
The order further stated, “To ensure the exercise does not become overly time-consuming and the object is only towards fact-finding, we are of the view that it ought to be a sample exercise…”
The petitioners had submitted that the registration of property on the basis of percentage was a way to promote apartments. There was no provision for apartments as per the city’s Master Plan, but the buildings were being sold floor-wise as apartments, the petitioners had said. As such, a three-storey house was being converted into three units, putting unnecessary pressure on the city’s infrastructure, the petitioner’s counsel had submitted before the court.
Recently, the UT counsel had submitted affidavit of UT assistant estate officer (AEO) Manish Kumar Lohan. The affidavit stated, “The factual position is that a building plan is approved for the entire building and not for an individual floor”. The affidavit further said, “Further no sale of defined portion/floor of building is permissible, nor any such sale has been recognised by the Chandigarh administration except those registered during 2001 to 2007 when ‘The Chandigarh Apartment Rules 2001’ were in vogue”.