Be not connivers but watchdogs like


What about those who are supposed to guard, in fact, turn as connivers of violators and transgressors which , therefore, cannot be set as a norm, precedent or a tradition. We have Master Plans for cities and towns primarily to observe and follow well devised policy guidelines of a planned city where structures are not raised in contravention of rules and regulations. With fast urbanisation, we are confronted with multifarious problems and challenges which are to be faced and met with a planned and scientific approach. Seeking prior permission for building houses, commercial establishments , shops and even making repairs along with minor alterations, one has to get the building plan approved by the Municipal Corporation, Cantonment Board or any such designated authority in a particular area / town and city whatsoever. It is no denying the fact that violators of building permission used to go scot free and in fact enjoyed patronage only for consideration of ”making happy” those officials who, in fact, had to initiate action including demolishing the part or whole of such structure depending upon the extent of violations. That such a scenario should continue even now looking to overall culture of following building permission rules being claimed to be strictly enforced which in fact, is the need of the hour if haphazard, unplanned, devoid of basic facilities of drainage, sanitation and the like are to be discouraged and prevented. However, if the immediate neighbourhood of such violations does not object to such violations of building permission rules, not only such violators get emboldened enough but such a passive approach of those who remain silent is nothing but a complicity. On the other hand, it is really laudable that legal intervention and remedy is sought by different ways permissible under the law including by filing PILs by the people who even may not be directly affected by such violation but for reasons to instil a sense of compliance of and regard for set rules in the general public in the overall interests of a well planned and laid out city, they resort to adopting such a course. In a similar case in Srinagar, a permission to a building plan for a ‘Guest House’ given by the Municipal Authorities, was in fact, converted into a Hotel Building and that too in a residential colony under the very nose and patronage of the Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC). In fact, the Division Bench of the High Court having taken a serious note of the said violation and in respect of the ”not up to the mark” response of the SMC must be taken as a warning by both the violators of the norms as well as those Municipal officials having allowed such a violation by either remaining mute spectators or as connivers as observed by the Honb’le Court. In common parlance, a building meant for commercial purposes like a Hotel must fulfil certain basic norms as stated in Model Building bye- laws and Building Code – 2020 starting from the type of location, star rating, parking facilities, license to run a Hotel, registration as a Hotel, and at the top of it a proper building permit exclusively for a Hotel and the like. In the instant case, privacy of the residents is feared to be disturbed by operation of the ”converted” building into a Hotel. The court, therefore, having not only asked for filing a fresh status report from the SMC but even directed for specifying the names of the concerned ”Khilafvarzi officials”. That means the obvious and zeroing in for the main connivers who were either actively or by remaining dormant in not taking an action, cannot be that difficult so that they faced the action. In fact, the SMC authorities should have taken a prompt action immediately following the complaint lodged with them by the aggrieved residents of the area. Inaction of the authorities has been commented upon adversely by the court which must be taken in the spirit of energizing and improving the working mechanism of the SMC especially of its active field staff supposed to fan throughout the areas where construction activities are undertaken on day to day basiss