To preserve Chandigarh’s heritage, Supreme Court bars floor-wise division of houses : The Tribune India

Tribune News Service

Satya Prakash

New Delhi, January 10

Highlighting the need for striking a proper balance between sustainable development and environmental protection, the Supreme Court on Tuesday prohibited fragmentation/division/bifurcation/apartmentalisation of a residential unit in Phase 1 (Sector 1 to 30) of Chandigarh.

Will injure Chandigarh’s ‘lungs’

The fragmentation/apartmentalization of single dwelling units in Phase 1 of Chandigarh, in our view, will injure the ‘lungs’ of the city as conceptualized by Le Corbusier. SC Bench

Chandigarh’s future is secure now: Counsel

This is a path-breaking judgment, which will secure the future of the city for generations to come. PS Patwalia, Advocate

“We hold that in view of Rule 14 of the 1960 Rules, Rule 16 of the 2007 Rules and the repeal of the 2001 (Chandigarh Apartment) Rules, fragmentation/division/ bifurcation/apartmentalisation of residential units in Phase 1 of Chandigarh is prohibited, ” a Bench led by Justice BR Gavai ordered.

Issuing a slew of directions to preserve the heritage status of Corbusian Chandigarh, the Bench directed the Center and the Chandigarh Administration to freeze the floor area ratio (FAR) and not to increase it any further.

It also directed them to restrict the number of floors in Phase I to three with a uniform maximum height as deemed appropriate by the heritage committee keeping in view the requirement to maintain its heritage status.

“The Chandigarh Administration shall not resort to formulating rules or bylaws without prior consultation of the heritage committee and prior approval of the Centre,” the Bench said in its verdict, which is expected to put an end to the practice of converting single residential units into apartments in Chandigarh.

As Justice Gavai pronounced the verdict, senior advocate PS Patwalia, who represented the appellant Residents Welfare Association, Sector 10, Chandigarh, said, “The future is now secure.” Justice Gavai replied, “Let us hope so. We have done our duty.” He also apologized for the more than two-month delay in pronouncing the verdict after it was reserved on the completion of the hearing.

The Bench directed the heritage committee to consider the issue of re-densification in Phase 1 of Chandigarh taking into consideration its own recommendations that the northern sectors of the city (Corbusian Chandigarh) should be preserved in their present form as well as the impact of such re -densification on the parking/traffic issues. “After the heritage committee considers the issues, the Chandigarh Administration will consider amending the Chandigarh Master Plan-2031 (CMP-2031) and the 2017 Rules insofar as these are applicable to Phase I in accordance with the recommendations of the heritage committee,” the Bench said.

“Such amendments shall be placed before the Center, which shall take a decision with regard to approval of such amendments keeping in view the requirement of maintaining the heritage status of the Le Corbusier zone,” it said.

The Bench said the Chandigarh Administration could not have made the provisions in the CMP-2031 allowing re-densification without the approval of the heritage committee. “In our view…providing something which would adversely affect the heritage status of the Le Corbusier zone, without the approval of the heritage committee, would not be permissible,” he added.

“We feel that such important issues cannot be left only to the discretion of the Chandigarh Administration. We, therefore, find it necessary to direct that after the Chandigarh Administration takes a decision to amend the provisions, the same shall be placed before the Center for its consideration and final decision,” the top court said.

“Until a final decision is taken by the Center, the UT shall not sanction any plan of a building which ex facie appears to be a modus operandi to convert a single dwelling unit into three different apartments occupied by three strangers,” it said.

“No MoU or agreement or settlement among co-owners of a residential unit shall be registered nor shall it be enforceable in law for the purpose of bifurcation or division of a single residential unit into floor-wise apartments,” it added. The Bench said for protecting the heritage status of Corbusian Chandigarh, it was necessary that it exercised its powers under Article 142 of the Constitution, which empowered it to pass any order necessary for doing complete justice in a matter pending before it.

“We direct a copy of this judgment to be forwarded to the Cabinet Secretary to the Union of India and the Chief Secretaries of all states to take note of the aforesaid observations. We hope that the Center as well as the state governments take serious steps,” the SC ordered.

“It is high time the legislature, the executive and the policy-makers at the Center as well as at the state level take note of the damage to the environment on account of haphazard developments and take a call to take necessary measures to ensure that development does not damage the environment,” the Bench said.

The verdict came on a petition filed by the Residents Welfare Association, Sector 10, Chandigarh.

Freeze floor area ratio, says the court

  • SC asks the Center & the UT Administration to freeze FAR and not increase it any further
  • Tells them to restrict the number of floors in Phase 1 to three with a uniform maximum height as deemed fit by the heritage committee
  • Asks the heritage committee to consider the issue of re-densification taking into consideration its own recommendations that the northern sectors should be preserved in the present form

#Environment #supreme court

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