Observing that several IAS officials are least bothered about its directives to dispose of appeals related to rectifying buildings constructed against the plan approved by the Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC), the Madras High Court directed the state government to not only impose penalties on such delinquent officials but also to imprison them.
“It is reported that several IAS officials, dealing with applications under Section 80-A of the Act, 1971, are not complying with the orders of this court for disposal of appeals. They must be suspended, charge-sheeted and shown the doors for disobedience. Imposing fines on them will be secondary and imprisonment will be primary,” noted the division bench comprising Justice S Vaidyanathan and Justice Mohammed Shaffiq, hearing an appeal by the Greater Chennai Corporation.
The bench made this observation since it found certain officials with the GCC are disposing of the appeals made under section 80-A of the Tamil Nadu Town and Country Planning Act, 1971, to reconsider/rectify constructions made against the plan approved by the GCC.
“The government shall commence such initiation of action firstly with IAS officials and produce the record in respect of the steps taken against them, including the issuance of charge memo. It is highly shameful to indicate that the officials, posted to deal with 80-A applications, are under the impression that the post is to mint money. The government has to press the Vigilance department to enquire about the disproportionate wealth of officials posted to hear appeals under Section 80-A of the Act,” the bench said.
J Ravindran, Additional Advocate General (AAG) submitted that about 2,400 appeals are pending before the GCC and wanted the court to grant more time to dispose of such appeals.
It was a case of the GCC challenging an order of a single judge directing the corporation to provide pay benefits to an official, Deivasigamani. As the official failed to detect the unauthorised construction of a building, his pay benefits were stopped, the GCC had argued.
The bench held that in case of disputes in constructions, the officials should make field inspections and such buildings should be video graphed and photographed using drones.
As Deivasigamani prayed for a direction to consider his name for promotion as per the December 2021 order of the court, the judges held that there is no impediment in including his name in the panel for promotion.
The case has been posted to April 4 along with another petition alleging Deivasigamani failed to visit and inspect a building, and the same was demolished.
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