In a significant order passed on Thursday, the Allahabad High Court directed the state authorities, not to undertake demolition activities until expiry of the period for filing an appeal against the demolition order, or in case where an appeal has been filed, until disposal of its interim application.
"The State authorities, where ever demolition orders are passed in respect of constructions raised on the private properties under the two acts, should wait from taking any action for actual demolition till the statutory period of appeal comes to an end.
Till the disposal of the interim application filed in the statutory appeals the authorities should not take any steps for executing the demolition orders," the Bench comprising of Justices Shashi Kant Gupta and Pankaj Bhatia ordered.
The direction came after the Bench noted that the Court was "burdened" due to filing of a large number of cases, complaining of demolitions being carried out even before the expiry of prescribed period for filing of an appeal under the U.P. (Regulation of Building Operations) Act, 1958 and the U.P. Urban Planning and Development Act, 1973.
The Court noted that the statutes provide a 30 days window for an aggrieved party, against whom an order of demolition is passed, to file an appeal before the appellate authority. To the contrary however, steps were being taken by the authorities for carrying out demolition, before expiry of this period.
The Court further noted that the statute in itself is silent as to when the demolition activities may be commenced, hence, keeping in view the fact that the "statutes are held to be ex-proprietary in nature and should be construed strictly as they purport to take away the valuable constitutional rights of the citizens," it passed the following directions:
- The State authorities, where ever demolition orders are passed in respect of constructions raised on the private properties under the two acts, should wait from taking any action for actual demolition till the statutory period of appeal comes to an end.
- The Appellate authority empowered the two Acts should endeavour to decide the interim applications filed along with the appeals, if any, expeditiously preferably within a period of two weeks from the date of filing of the interim application.
- Till the disposal of the interim application filed in 8 the statutory appeals the authorities should not take any steps for executing the demolition orders.
- Copies of the demolition orders, passed under the acts should be properly served upon the persons against whom the orders are passed.
- The orders of demolition proposed should be passed after giving an opportunity of hearing to the persons against whom the orders are proposed to be passed.
Case Title: Abbas Ansari & Anr. v. State of UP & Ors.
Appearance: Senior Advocate Udai Karan Saxena and Advocates Ravindra Kumar Tripathi and Priyavrat Tripathi