CHENNAI: There was little respite for Tamil Nadu’s real estate developers and builders on Friday, when Madras high court declined to reconsider its order imposing blanket ban on registration of unapproved plots/layouts and conversion of agricultural lands. The first bench of the court, which on September 9 stunned the thriving unapproved plot developers’ lobby by directing registration department officials not to entertain sale deeds of unapproved layouts and buildings and register them, said it would not allow itself to be pressured into reconsidering the order.
After the ban, several thousand registration activities have come to a standstill and several lakh plots are lying unsold. The order was passed on a PIL filed by a social activist-advocate who said indiscriminate conversion of agricultural lands would have adverse impact on environment in the long run. Since then, at least 10 other petitions have been filed by individuals and companies engaged in real estate activities. On Friday, a large number of developers and their counsel made a beeline to the first court which is hearing the batch of PILs. At least 30 new petitions were filed by people who wanted to be impleaded as parties to the proceedings.
The bench, however, said it was not going to allow these implead petitions. After being pointed out that the issues ranged from development of unauthorised layouts to registration by individuals as gift deed or carving out a piece of land for such facilities as mobile phone towers, the judges said if they had such grievances, they could come with specific averments by filing separate writ petitions. When one senior counsel for a developer prayed that the blanket ban be relaxed at least till Diwali, the PIL-petitioner opposed the idea saying even if the order is relaxed slightly they would complete illegal registrations within a day by bring truckloads of land documents.
Another senior counsel said so far Tamil Nadu had lost Rs 274 crore since registration of unapproved plots had come to a grinding halt. To this, the chief justice retorted saying merely because smuggling involved several hundred crores of rupees, it could not be permitted. “You feel that if this type of pressure is given something will be done. We know why this is being done. We will not succumb to such pressures. Do not say that registrations had been stopped because of our orders alone,” the judges said, adding there should be some policy or scheme evolved by the government.
The bench then adjourned the matter to November 16 for further hearing.
Credits ET Realty