Chennai Silks fire: Registry told to group similar pleas

The fire accident at Chennai Silks in T Nagar is opening a pandora’s box. The Madras High Court is all set to take stock of unauthorised constructions, particularly those relating to infringement of fire safety norms.
A file photo of the Madras High Court
A file photo of the Madras High Court


Besides impleading the Chairman, Monitoring Committee, secretary to government, housing and urban development department as a respondent in the case, the first bench comprising Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice M Sundar also directed the Registry to consolidate all writ petitions of similar matters and list them for hearing on July 10. 
Interestingly, the bench also directed to place before it the records pertaining to two PILs filed by Kannan Balachandran, which was disposed of by the then first bench comprising acting Chief Justice Huluvadi G Ramesh and Justice R Mahadevan. 
The pleas, which had named Pothy’s, Chennai Silks, Saravana Stores in T Nagar as respondents, were disposed by the then first bench on February 20 this year after recording the assurance given by the state secretary, Housing and Urban Development Department. 
The assurance offered pertained to notifying rules and guidelines for effective implementation of Section 113 –C of the Tamil Nadu Town and Country Planning Act (deals with building regularisation) within two months. 
The present plea moved by social activist Traffic Ramaswamy sought necessary action against building violators particularly Sri Kumaran Jewellery and Chennai Silks and others. He also sought for the transfer of the Housing and Urban Development Secretary, who is continuing in the same post for several years and a CBI enquiry into the activities of the official for the past five years.
Centre’s rules on cattle sale challenged
The Madras High Court on Monday admitted a public interest litigation seeking to declare the May 23 notification of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Regulation of Livestock Markets) Rules, 2017 as illegal, unconstitutional and ultra vires to the provisions of Constitution of India. The first bench comprising Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice M Sundar, before whom the plea came up for hearing, sought for a copy of the Supreme Court’s order pertaining to trans-boundary smuggling of cattle, since the petitioner had failed to enclose the same and adjourned the matter to Wednesday for further hearing. The petitioner D Parventhan, who is a practicing advocate and part of Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi, submitted that in the pretext of making rules to prevent the trans-boundary smuggling of cattle, the BJP government has imposed its “hindutva ideology.” 
Lokayukta row: State seeks time to file report 
The Madras High Court on recording the government’s submission that a status report about establishing Lokayukta will be filed soon, adjourned the public interest litigation moved by CPM in this regard to July 10 for further hearing.
When the plea came up before the first bench comprising Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice M Sundar on Monday, the additional advocate general on noting that a status report would be filed, sought for more time to file the same following which the bench posed the case to July 10 for further hearing. CPM, state secretary, G Ramakrishnan in his plea had sought for a direction to the Government of Tamil Nadu to establish Lokyukta as per Section 63 of the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013, within a time frame to be fixed by the court. He also sought for an interim direction from the court to file the steps taken for the constitution of Lokayukta. He had also submitted that the Lokpal and Lokayukta Act was passed by the Parliament in 2013 paving way for their establishment to fight corruption in public offices. Also, though Section 63 of the Act very clearly indicates that every state shall establish Lokayukta within one year from the date of commencement of the Act, the petitioner said, while 20 other states have constituted the Lokayukta, the Tamil Nadu government has miserably failed to do so. The inaction of the government in establishing Lokayukta has emboldened a large section of political and bureaucratic officers of the state to participate, promote and propagate corruption on a large scale, the CPM leader added. 

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