Mohamed Imranullah S.
MADURAI: A promoter of housing plots cannot claim ownership of a reserved area contending that the layout was drawn before the enactment of the Tamil Nadu Town and Country Planning Act, 1971, which mandates earmarking 10 per cent of the total extent of land for community purposes such as playground, park and so on, the Madras High Court has ruled.
Dismissing a second appeal filed before the Madurai Bench, Justice K.K. Sasidharan agreed that property developers were not obligated to reserve a particular area before the enactment. “However, it cannot be contended that in the absence of a statutory prescription there is no requirement on the part of a developer to earmark a fixed percentage of the total area of the layout for community purpose,” he said.
People will be denied of a healthy atmosphere to live in the absence of open space. Further, the right to live with human dignity enshrined in Article 21 of the Constitution included protection of health and right to clean environment. Hence, it is of utmost importance to allocate common area in residential colonies, the Judge said.
The appellant, Thanjavur Diocese Society, said it had sold 170 residential plots spread over 19 acres at Nanjikottai in 1960. Then, 8 per cent of the total land was shown in the layout as ‘reserved area,’ which meant that it was set aside for future use of the Society and not for community purposes as claimed by residents of the colony.
Rejecting the contention, the Judge said the promoter could not suddenly claim ownership over the reserved land because it was being used by the residents for the past 40 years as common area.
“Therefore, the only possible conclusion is that the area earmarked as reserved plot in the layout plan was earmarked only for community use and no other inference is possible from the given facts,” Mr. Justice Sasidharan said.
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