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Lawfully yours: By Retired Justice K Chandru

Your legal questions answered by Justice K Chandru, former Judge of the Madras High Court Do you have a question? Email us

Lawfully yours: By Retired Justice K Chandru

Redevelopment: One can sue absentee landowners and seek declaratory relief

Q: Ours is a 40-year-old three-storey building consisting of 28 flats. During monsoon, there is water stagnation around the portico. Rainwater from the road enters the compound and our well water gets contaminated with sewage. In the last floods, the rainwater entered all ground floor flats up to five feet. Given this situation year after year, about eight owners are not staying there. Hence the majority has decided to go for reconstruction. But, of 28, only 23 agreed to redevelopment. The other five -- benefitted with good rent from tenants -- are not bothering and extending cooperation for reconstruction. The 23 owners propose to approach GCC with a prayer for arranging an inspection of the building. If the GCC after inspection passes an order for reconstruction in three months, will the non-cooperative owners be compelled to fall in line? Also, will they agree to reconstruction and start paying the selected builder? VS Narayanaswamy, T. Nagar

A: Since legal provisions have not been made for the majority of flat owners, to decide on the question of going for demolition/reconstruction, you have two options: Move the court if the GCC order is not favourable and if the court also expresses a negative opinion then ask the court to appoint a party receiver to proceed with demolition and reconstruction. Advocate commissioner means a white elephant. The second option is to sue the absentee landowners and seek for declaratory relief.

Public can’t fix time limit for re-laying roads as several factors involved

Q: There are frequent incidents of milling of roads in Chennai without re-laying it for weeks. When approached, a contractor said they have one week to re-lay the stretch milled, which seems too long as the safety of two-wheelers on such roads is a grave question. Even a single day of riding on milled roads seems dangerous for two-wheelers due to the risks of skidding. Is there any provision in the law to take contractors to court to complete re-laying milled stretches within a stipulated period? S Ramasamy, Anna Nagar, Chennai

A: You should be happy that the GCC is milling the road before tarring it. Earlier, for want of milling, the height of the roads was increasing resulting in the inundation of houses during rains. You cannot fix any time limit for relaying as it depends on several factors including the agreement with the contractors. Any digging or milling of roads is dangerous to users. But one has to bear with such inconveniences for better roads. If you are lucky you may not have huge speed-breakers, which have become the latest threat to two-wheeler riders.

Justice K Chandru
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