HC nod to construction of booths in Sec 15 book market
Opening a new chapter in the scholastic and intellectual history of the city, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has given the green signal for the construction of booths in the Sector 15 book market.
The development is significant as the High Court, in a first, held the draw of lots in the open court for allotting the proposed shops.
Disposing of the matter soon after, Justice Paramjeet Singh directed the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation to initiate proceedings for taking over the possession of “platforms” in accordance with law within 15 days from receiving a copy of the order.
“The occupants of platforms are directed to vacate these and hand over the vacant possession to the respondent MC. It may extend the time, if required. The respondent MC shall carry out the construction as per the proposal expeditiously and hand over the possession to the allottees according to the draw of lots…,” Justice Paramjeet Singh said.
The directions came on a petition filed by Gaurav and other petitioners against the Municipal Corporation and other respondents. They were seeking directions for quashing a resolution, dated July 28, 2014, passed by the respondent MC, whereby it decided to construct booths in place of platforms at a cost of Rs 55 lakh. The petitioners contended that the existing structures constructed in 2007 were in good shape.
Going into the background of the controversy, Justice Paramjeet Singh observed that the petitioners were carrying out the business of selling old books in Sector 15-D without authorisation. As the land was actually reserved for a cycle track and road widening, the Administration, in 2007, framed a scheme “Licensing of Built-up Platforms to Second Hand Book Sellers of Sector 15, Chandigarh”.
The scheme for their re-settlement entailed allocation of built-up platforms on a monthly licence fee. In pursuance of the scheme, the petitioners and others were allotted platforms in 2007. Thereafter, the petitioners and others at the platforms raised temporary structures.
Justice Paramjeet Singh added that the Municipal Corporation passed the impugned resolution for constructing booths in place of the existing temporary structures and platforms, with a toilet block and parking in Sector 15-A.
It was unanimously decided by the Municipal Corporation that the construction of booths would be carried out in place of the existing platforms.
Justice Paramjeet Singh added: “Admittedly, the petitioners have no right to the alleged platforms, because they had initially encroached upon public property, but they were rehabilitated as per the 2007 scheme….
“The photographs reveal that the platforms are having temporary structures in the shape of tin sheds and tarpaulin, which apparently appear to be dangerous for human life if high-velocity winds blow.
These also give a shabby look to the area. Otherwise also, Chandigarh is a planned city and known as the City Beautiful. The construction of booths instead of platforms covered with tin and tarpaulin will be more useful to the shopkeepers, visitors and inhabitants of Sector 15, Chandigarh…. I do not find any illegality or perversity in the impugned resolution dated July 28, 2014”.