The Madras High Court on Friday issued an order banning registration of plots and houses in unapproved housing layouts as well as conversion of agricultural land for non-agricultural use in an unplanned manner in Tamil Nadu.
“We direct that no registering authority in the State shall register any sale deed in respect of any plot in unauthorised layout or any flat/ building constructed on such plots,” said the First Bench of Chief Justice S.K. Kaul and Justice R. Mahadevan.
The Bench said the order was necessary to save the ecology and prevent flooding while simultaneously giving time to the State government to come up with necessary policy documents and legislative changes.
It then directed the Inspector General of Registration to circulate the order to all registering authorities (Sub-Registrars) in the State.
The interim directions were passed on a public interest litigation petition filed by advocate ‘Elephant’ G. Rajendran seeking a direction to the government to forebear the local administration from giving approval or permission to convert agricultural lands into housing layouts and forebear the Registration Department from registering such properties.
When the petition came up for hearing, the Bench expressed its concern over the absence of any provision for regulating conversion of agricultural lands that were uncultivated for more than three years.
The judges noted that only five per cent of land area in the State was under statutory planning process and the remaining 95 per cent, plans were yet to be developed.
The Additional Advocate General, who appeared for the registering authorities, submitted that the authorities could not refuse to register such unauthorised layouts.
To this, the Bench said, “How can it be pleaded so, as the boundaries of land for which registration is sought have to be specified in the sale deed, and when there is no sanction for developed area as to roads and common areas, the deed would itself become incapable of registration.” The Bench passed the orders and posted the PIL to October 21 for further hearing.
Says order necessary to save the ecology while giving time to government to come up with necessary legislative changes