SDMs directed to speed up hearing
Taking note of the low rate of disposal of cases pertaining to building violations and misuse being heard by sub-divisional magistrates (SDMs), the UT Estate Officer has asked them to speed up hearing in the cases in their respective areas.
Over 3,000 cases of building violations and misuse are being heard by the three officers, who are exercising the quasi judicial powers of assistant estate officers (AEOs). In the past six months, around 2 per cent of the cases have been disposed of.
Estate Officer Ajit Balaji Joshi said the SDMs had been asked to speed up hearing in the cases.
With the intention of speeding up hearing in the cases, the Chandigarh Administration had delegated the powers to hear cases of building violations and misuse to the officers in June as the number of cases was increasing by the day.
However, due to the additional responsibility of the MC with the SDMs, hearing in the cases was not being conducted on a day-to-day basis.
Sources in the Estate Office said after analysing the progress in the cases, a letter in this regard had been sent by the Estate Officer to the three SDMs. Incidentally, the quantum of penalty in cases of building violations and misuse, prescribed in the Building Rules-2007, has been referred to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) for a decision.
While the Chief Administrator has been deferring cases pertaining to the quantum of penalty till a decision is taken by the MHA, the courts of the assistant estate officers have been levying penalty of Rs 500 per sq ft per month for violations in both commercial and residential buildings even in fresh cases.
In some cases, the amount of penalty is more than the market value of the property. In the past six years, the Estate Office has issued hundreds of notices for misuse or building violations to owners and has imposed penalties of crores of rupees.