The Gujarat high court (HC) has, in an interim order, stayed implementation of three circulars related to security deposit for new construction plans issued by Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC).
Till now, the civic body collected deposit from developers while submitting their new construction plans. The petitioner – Gujarat Institute of Civil Engineers and Architects (GICEA) – has challenged the authority of AMC to collect this deposit. GICEA submitted that AMC was shirking its responsibility of enforcing and implementing various provisions meant for regulating development and ensuring that it takes place in accordance with law.
The court has also directed the civic body not to grant any building use (BU) permission unless it has ensured that the parking area as shown in the sanctioned plan is maintained. Currently, AMC raises a demand of scrutiny from the developer at the time of filling up the scrutiny form as per its 2007 circular. The developer is asked to deposit Rs1,000 per sq m (for plinth and first cellar) and Rs2,000 per sq m (for second cellar).
The approval for plan is given only when security deposit is paid. At the time of granting BU permission, if it is found that the development is not as per the permission, the security deposit is forfeited. The petitioner has also submitted that Gujarat Provincial Municipal Corporations Act, 1949, does not empower the corporation (AMC) to ask for security deposit to ‘prevent change of use of parking area’. On the contrary, by paying the security charges, developers are promoted to change the use of the area earmarked for parking for other purposes.
The HC, too, came down heavily on the civic body’s method. “AMC is required to be directed to enforce the building regulations in their right spirit rather than facilitating the developer to violate the same by asking them to deposit a meagre amount of Rs2,000 per sq m in the name of a provision for stopping change of use of parking area to any other purpose,” said justice Ravi R Tripathi and justice RD Kothari in their order.
During the hearing of the case, the advocate, appearing on behalf of petitioner, also cited a division bench judgment that ruled that the municipal corporation has all the power to stop construction that is found to be not as per the plan. “It goes without saying that when the construction is in progress, it is the duty of the municipal commissioner to check the construction.
If the construction is not in accordance with the approved plans, the municipal commissioner has got every right to stop the construction until the amended plans are approved by the municipal commissioner or the construction is made as per plans,” justice BC Patel and justice P Majumdar had said in the order of October 14, 2000.