Supreme Court on Friday decided to adjourn the hearing on the Shimla Development Plan as the court gave two week time to the respondent to file a reply the court was hearing the Special Leave Petition in the matter of state of HP versus Yogendra Mohan Sengupta. The counsel for the state of Himachal Pradesh and Advocate General Mr Anup Rattan urged the court to allow the state to implement the SDP as it has published the plan as per the previous direction of the apex court.
Urging the Court to allow the Implementation of the new Shimla Development Plan the AG contented
that various applications of residents are pending before the state for a long time to allow the construction as per the provisions of the TCP Act and the state needs to process these applications.
While hearing the matter the bench of SC comprising Mr justices BR Gavai and Mr Justice JB Pardiwala, Mr Justice Gavai asked the state in the open court that they have read through paper reports that the parking is being provided for commercial and residential purposes leaving car still on the roads. Mr. Anup Rattan submitted in the court that such reports are misleading and not based on fact. He further stated ” since there are parking issues in and around Shimla town, we would be able to tackle the same by removing the cars parked on the roads and asking the residents to park vehicles within their respecting parking floors abutting the roads. AG disclosed before SC that it was virtually creating a mess as more than 70,000 vehicles in a day in the town could not be accommodated on the roads without having such provisions for parking
.The counsel for the respondents who wanted to appear online urged the court to allow them to respond online but the court warned all respondents that no one was allowed to participate online.
However, the court permitted the counsel for respondent Sanjay Parik for having a valid reason to not appear in open court. The counsel for the respondent stated that green areas were being opened on the pretext of SDP for the construction
of residential units and that the state had prepared a recipe for destruction. He responded further that State had allowed cutting the hills under the plan should not be allowed.
Denying the objections raised by the primary respondent, the AG of Himachal Pradesh stated that the submission made by the respondent is not correct as only a two-and-a-half-story building is being allowed to be built in the core area of Shimla town. He further stated how the could government stop people to not allow construction in the green area as many of them are waiting for the last 40 years to buy plots in the town.
Terming the respondent ignorant about the SDP, AG stated that Shimla Development Plan was complied with on the basis and keeping the observations made by the green tribunal on the applications of the respondent.
AG also mentioned that the counsel for the respondent has not gone through the draft of the SDP as it has even proposed to allow the three-and-a-half story in the development plan outside the core area.
Urging the court to allow the implementation of the SDP, the counsel for the state of Himachal said that in fact, the state wants to authorize the construction as the state has a large number of applications pending before it could not be processed without having a development plan.
Sanjay Parikh, the counsel for the respondent Yogender Mohan Sen Gupta stated before the court that the state placed the draft of SDP on the record last week only and it should be given time to file the reply in the matter. He also requested the court that it would require at least two weeks time to go through the SDP and submit its reply.
The court fixed the next date of hearing on August 11, 2023, ordering the state not to implement the plan till then.
worthwhile to mention that the State government has challenged the National Green Tribunal judgment passed in November 2017 restraining the new construction on the basis of the Interim development plan in the Shimla planning area.
The state also challenged the NGT order which declared the new Shimla Development Plan illegal against the November 2017 order.
During the previous hearing in the matter SC similarly deferred the hearing for today after allowing the state of Himachal to place the draft of a new development plan in the court.