The Himachal Pradesh High court dismissed a review petition filed by the State government to reconsider the retention policy passed in 2016-17. The order in question was directed by the single bench of the High Court, which had struck down the Himachal Pradesh Town and Country Planning Department Retention policy to regulate 15000 unregulated buildings and houses in the state.
After hearing, the Division bench of Justice Tarlok Singh Chauhan and Justice Chander Bhushan Barowalia dismissed the review petition. The petitioner state of Himachal Pradesh and the Town and country planning department had appealed to revoke the State government’s 2016-17 retention policy.
The standing counsel of Himachal Pradesh High court, who opposed the State government plea and is also pleading in another petition to quash the new Shimla Development Plan, Advocate Raghav Goel, informed that the matter was listed before the Division Bench in the open court and it was dismissed today. He said that earlier, this matter was listed before the Division bench of Justice Tarlok Singh Chauhan and Justice Satyan Vaidya, from where it was reassigned before the new bench, which heard the matter on Thursday.
It is worthwhile to mention that Virbhadra Singh Govt enacted a retention policy in 2016-17 by amending the TCP act to regulate about 35000 buildings which fall in 35 planning areas in the state under TCP Department. However, the same could not be achieved so far. About 5000 house owners had applied under the scheme in Shimla and 9000 all over the state. Before the State could execute the policy, the Himachal Pradesh High court in 2017 struck it down as a person challenged the policy. State in 2018 again moved to the higher bench filling the review petition, which the High court dismissed today.
Now the state may go in for an SLP in the Supreme court, or it must declare all questioned unregulated construction as unauthorised. If it happens then the department may have to demolish them if it loses the legal battle.
After this, a sword is again hanging on the houses of owners ( most of them in merged areas) who had applied under the retention policy as their construction was virtually becoming unregulated and unauthorised.
Himachal has 35 planning and 35 particular areas in the state. The city of Shimla was spread over a radius of 8 km till a few years back. However, in passage of time dozens of villages have been merged increasing the Shimla Plan area to 32 km radius.
The State has been bringing various retention policies to help such residents of the state for regularizing the illegal building’.
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