Prosecute Officers Guilty Of Allowing Illegal Constructions: HC To Govt

2 April 2014
Rising Kashmir
Sheikh Saleem

Srinagar: J&K High Court has directed the government to identify and prosecute the officers responsible for allowing illegal constructions in violation of Master Plan in Srinagar during past two decades under Prevention of Corruption Act. A division bench, comprising Justice Hasnain Masoodi and Justice DH Thakur, said it is important to identify Chief Khilafwarzi Officers and higher authorities of Srinagar Municipal Corporation, SDA and LAWDA who were responsible for enforcement of Building Laws and take action against such constructions in the past 20 years. The court observed that the recent Act passed by government does not prohibit action against erring officials of SMC, SDA and LAWDA, who directly or indirectly facilitated construction of unauthorized and illegal structures in contravention of Master Plan-2021. The observations were made after the state government through Advocate General acknowledged large scale violations of Buildings Laws and Master Plan 200-2021 during last 15 to 20 years in Srinagar city. 'It is important to identify Chief Khilafwarzi Officers and higher authorities of SMC, SDA and LAWDA responsible for enforcement of Building Laws and take action against such constructions during the period 1994 to 2013,' the court observed. The division bench said the officers need to be prosecuted for dereliction of duty and criminal misconduct within meaning of Section 5 of J&K Prevention of Corruption Act. The court also directed Commissioner SMC and Vice Chairman LAWDA to identify unauthorized and illegal constructions raised in contravention of Master Plan 2000-2021 within different local areas of Srinagar city, commenced before 5th March 2014 but not completed on 5th March 2014 or currently under construction with all necessary details. The court also directed them to furnish a report detailing therein the buildings-structures raised before 5th March 2014, not complying with the safety standards directed by the state government. The court also directed SMC and LAWDA authorities to submit report after every four weeks identifying unauthorized and illegal constructions and constructions raised in contravention of Master Plan 2000-2021 before 5th March wherein the 'local authorities' decide to take punitive action in terms of Section 4(3) of the Act and submit the matter to Administrative Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Department or an officer authorized by him in this behalf and the action taken on such proposals and as a follow up to the decision taken by the Administrative Secretary Housing and Urban development Department.