Himachal can publish the Shimla Development Plan: Supreme Court

Supreme Court allowed the State of Himachal Pradesh to publish Shimla  Development to come into effect after one month of publication of the gazette notification.

Posting three-page order on Monday on the SC website the division bench of Justice B. R Gavai, Justice Vikram Nath, and Justice Sanjay Karol allowed the state of Himachal Pradesh to publish the Shimla Development Draft Plan after considering the objections of the parties. The order said that after hearing the counsel of the state the Court made this order.

” We are informed that on account of directions issued by the National Green Tribunal (NGT), the final development plan which is presently at the stage of ‘draft notification’ could not be published.  We are further informed by the learned Advocate General for the State of Himachal Pradesh that 97 objections have been received to the draft development plan ‘, the bench said in the order pronounced on May 3 in the Court No- 8 of SC.

”In light of the facts and circumstances of these cases, we find that it would be appropriate, that  The State Government decides the objections received to the draft development plan and after considering the same issue a final development plan.” the bench observed while considering the plea of one of the respondent. 

 SC directs the State of Himachal Pradesh to consider the objections to the draft development plan, decide on them and publish the final development plan within a period of six weeks from today.  We further clarify that after the final development plan is published, it would not be given effect for a period of one month from the date of its publication.

” It is further directed that no construction should be permitted on the basis of the draft development plan. and Learned counsel appearing for the impleader submits that certain constructions are being carried out without there being a sanctioned plan. If any such construction is carried out without there being a sanctioned plan, indisputably, such a construction would be an unauthorized construction.” the bench said.

We, therefore, grant liberty to the applicant(s) to take recourse to the remedy available under Article 226 of the Constitution of India and bring unauthorized constructions to the notice of the High Court.   Needless to state that on such petitions being filed, the High Court would decide such petitions with due urgency that the issue requires.  

The matter was listed for further on July 12, 2023, before the same bench. It is worthwhile to mention that state of Himachal Pradesh filed an SLP before the SC in 2019 against the  2017 NGT order which banned all types of construction in the Shimla Core area and restricted the construction in the rest of the planning area prior to approval of a committee allowing only two and half story construction in the town.

The state government moved before the SC to seek to quash the NGT order to ban the construction stating that it could fall under the domain of NGT to allow and ban construction as per the Development Plan moreover it has promoted people who violate the construction bye-laws in lack of any mechanism. It is worthwhile to mention that a large number of multistory buildings were built by the state government as NGT allowed such construction in the public interest.  

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