Calcutta HC asks KMC to seal 10 buildings by 2 pm today

February 24, 2024

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KOLKATA: The Calcutta High Court directed the KMC to seal 10 new or upcoming constructions in the city by 2 pm on Saturday.

A division bench of Chief Justice T S Sivagnanam and Justice Hiranmay Bhattacharyya issued the directive on Friday while hearing a petition complaining that the “illegal constructions” were made on thika tenancy land, Wakf land and a land identified as enemy property.

The construction on the alleged enemy property was on Keshab Chandra Sen Street of ward 37. ‘Enemy properties’ are defined as those left behind by people who took citizenship of Pakistan (after the 1965 and 1971 wars) and China (following the Sino-Indian war of 1962). In 2017, the government amended the Enemy Property Act, 1968 and Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Act, 1971. It was decided that the heirs of those who left India after 1962, 1965 and 1971 could no longer claim ownership of the enemy properties.

At the HC on Friday, additional solicitor general Ashoke Kumar Chakraborty submitted to the court that officers of the custodian of the enemy property, the Union home ministry, led by the deputy secretary, were beaten up when they had gone for measurement of the property. “This is a very serious allegation if found true,” the Chief Justice said.

The petitioner alleged that three of the 10 properties had come up on thika tenancy land. The petitioner’s counsel submitted that a section of developers in collusion with the then executive engineer of KMC Borough IV and V were into the act.

The petitioner’s counsel also submitted that the constructions, some of which were partly occupied, were being used by anti-socials using the buildings as call centres for committing financial fraud while some were used for drug peddling.

The Chief Justice directed the MHA, the custodian of the property and the estate manager to file a report on the status of land during the next hearing.

“It needs to be ascertained whether the builders had obtained appropriate sanction orders for land conversion. Next, whether the builders submitted the building plan to the KMC and got it approved. The KMC has to ascertain whether the construction was made in conformity to the building plan,” the Chief Justice observed. The division bench directed the KMC to inspect the constructions and submit an action taken report.

Justice Hiranmay Bhattacharyya directed the controller of thika tenancy and chairperson of the Board of Wakfs to file a report on the land status and if appropriation approvals were taken by builders.

  • Published On Feb 24, 2024 at 08:49 AM IST

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