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Where has Tata Housing (Camelot) project ‘violated law’, HC asks petitioner

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Where has Tata Housing (Camelot) project ‘violated law’, HC asks petitioner

Last updated: November 21 2016
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  • Where has Tata Housing (Camelot) project ‘violated law’, HC asks petitioner

    Chandigarh: Making it clear that “visions do not make laws”, the Punjab and Haryana High Court today tested the “bonafides” of the petitioner who has challenged the much-debated Tata Camelot housing project coming up in Kansal. The High Court also questioned D S Patwalia, counsel for the petitioner, Aalok Jagga as to why the scope of the petition has been narrowed down to Punjab and why the violations done by Haryana in the periphery have not been objected to.

    Observing that the petitioner is “skating on thin ice”, the division bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Mahesh Grover questioned what the “illegality” is in the proposed Camelot project construction. The Bench today asked Patwalia to demonstrate how the housing project has violated the law. The observation “visions do not make laws” was made by the Bench responding to the petitioner’s averment that the proposed housing project is contrary to the vision of the city envisaged by Le Corbusier.

    The development took place during the resumed hearing of the PIL today. Peeved over the delay caused by the UT Administration in filing its response (after over 14 months) and causing delay in the adjudication of the PIL, the Bench imposed an exemplary penalty of Rs 50,000 on the Administration. The penalty will be paid by the Administration to Hash Builders and Tata Housing.

    Also, the Bench has made it clear that on the next date of hearing (February 14), the case will be heard for final arguments. The parties involved have been directed to file their responses by February 9. Asking the petitioner to demonstrate whether any law has been violated, the division bench remarked that the case cannot be filed on the basis of “individual likes and dislikes”.

    “If there is any violation, show us the violation,” added Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi. Speaking for the Bench, Justice Mahesh Grover remarked that violations have been done not only by Punjab and Haryana but also by Chandigarh. “Even though it is assumed that your case is accepted, at the most permission is required by the developer for the construction,” the Bench remarked, which also questioned the counsel if there “is any absolute embargo on the construction”. “We do not see why have you taken 1,000 pages to raise this issue. Everything hinges on the clearance to be given,” the Bench quipped.

    Renowned lawyer and Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi, counsel for Tata Housing, argued that the petitioner does not possess even a single document to challenge the housing project. “It is at a premature stage. The Ministry of Environment and Forests is feeling fettered and not entertaining the application of the builder because of the stay prevailing,” contended Singhvi.

    He demanded a vacation of the stay granted by the High Court (on January 20, 2011) and disposal of the PIL. However, the Bench adjourned the case to February 14 for final adjudication.


    Where has Tata Housing (Camelot) project ‘violated law’, HC asks petitioner
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  • #2

    #2

    Re : Where has Tata Housing (Camelot) project ‘violated law’, HC asks petitioner

    Tata Camelot 'benefitted' from MLAs?

    Intensifying its scathing attack against the Punjab government for allowing Tata Camelot to come up in a “controlled area”, the Administration today accused Punjab of preparing the master plan of Nayagaon keeping the Tata Camelot project in mind. Senior standing counsel for UT Administration, Sanjay Kaushal alleged that the Punjab government buckled under the pressure of it’s MLAs to prepare the master plan of Nayagaon to benefit Tata housing corporation. “The master plan for Nayagaon was not made for its residents but was made keeping the project (Camelot) in mind,” Kaushal averred.
    The allegation was made during the resumed hearing of a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Advocate Aalok Jagga challenging the housing project to come up in Kansal. On a pointed query put by a division bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Mahesh Grover as to whether the Chandigarh Administration was “helpless” when the master plan was made, Kaushal replied in the affirmative.

    The “helplessness” of Administration was, however, questioned by the division bench. The Bench questioned Kaushal what the “champions of Edict” of Chandigarh were doing when the land belonging to MLAs was transferred for construction of the project. The Administration counsel added that as per the master plan, no high-rise building is allowed to come up within one km of the Capitol Complex. Kaushal alleged that since Punjab knew that the Tata Camelot project is located within 1.9 km of the Capitol Complex, it kept the embargo on construction of high rise building at 1 km. The master plan for Nayagaon was notified on January 2, 2009.

    Speaking for the Bench, Justice Mahesh Grover questioned why the UT Administration never raked the issues of threat to heritage of the city before the Court. Justice Grover remarked that the Court has been given the impression that the authorities have abdicated their responsibilities. The Court also asked whether any construction other than the old building of the High Court is not a “blatant violation”. Referring to the vision of French architect Le Corbusier, heavily relied upon by the Administration, Justice Grover questioned “where was the vision at that time” to construction the new building of High Court.

    Sanjay Kaushal submitted that it was highly “unfortunate” that Punjab and Haryana are jointly trying to destroy their “jewel” (Chandigarh). He said that despite the development by Punjab and Haryana had not received a green signal from the co ordination committee (comprising of members of UT, Punjab and Haryana).

    He added, “Heritage knows no boundaries. Punjab and Haryana should protect Chandigarh for the next generation.” Responding to this, the Bench orally remarked that “heritage cannot be made the foundation of a judicial order”.

    Using his wit, Congress spokesperson and senior lawyer, Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing on behalf of Tata Housing development company launched a counter attack on the petitioner for filing a “premature” petition. Taking a dig at the “bleeding hearts” of those who have challenged Camelot, Singhvi said that without preparing the master plan for the city, the UT Administration cannot collaterally challenge the master plan of Nayagaon. He questioned why the Chandigarh Administration did not challenge the master plan of Nayagaon and that malafide cannot be alleged against a statute. Singhvi said that the master plan is a statute and that the co ordination committee has no legal sanctity. He contended that the present petition is an attempt to get some observations from the Court on the project. He added that the petition is a “deliberate attempt to make the Court a licence issuing authority”. The PIL will come up for resumed hearing on Wednesday.



    Tata Camelot 'benefitted' from MLAs?
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    • #3

      #3

      Re : Where has Tata Housing (Camelot) project ‘violated law’, HC asks petitioner

      ‘Tata Camelot can proceed after nod under various Acts’

      Chandigarh: High Court says Periphery Control Act applicable to housing project, ‘vision of one (Mon Le Corbusier) must not be pitted against myopia of multitudes’


      The Punjab and Haryana High Court left the decision on the controversial Tata Camelot project on the concerned authorities, from whom the project is required to get necessary sanctions, permissions and clearances, under the Wildlife (Protection) Act and Environment (Protection) Act. While disposing of a public interest litigation (PIL) challenging the “permissibility of the project” proposed to be set up by Tata in Chandigarh’s periphery, the division bench of the High Court, comprising of Chief Justice, Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Mahesh Grover, held that the Periphery Control Act is applicable to the housing project; but “only on the fulfillment of the clearances, sanctions, permissions and other pre-conditions required under the Environment (Protection) Act and Wildlife (Protection) Act”.

      The division bench held that the project shall have to invoke the jurisdiction of the Wildlife (Protection) Act and Environment (Protection) Act, and after fulfillment of all the required formalities, the project can make any further progress so as to avoid a situation where “the vision of one (Mon Le Corbusier) is pitted against the myopia of the multitudes”.

      On the question of whether the project violates the edict of Chandigarh, the Court ruled, “Viewed from the strict dictionary meaning of the word edict, ie a decree issued by the sovereign or other authority or any authoritative proclamation or command, the words of Mon Le Corbusier may not amount to an edict at all. It is in the nature of a formal wish of a person that the future generations would continue to preserve what has been built”.

      Further, referring to various authorities, which are required to give clearances to the project, the High Court ruled, “A more rigorous regulated development in what are now the remnants of the periphery and the areas adjoining it is the need of the hour for which the stakeholders, ie the Administration of Chandigarh, the States of Punjab and Haryana as also the authorities under the Environment (Protection) Act and the Wild Life Protection Act, have to demonstrate the need to engage themselves intensively and not acquire a placid approach indicating an eloquent acquiescence to the violation of the 1995 Act, Periphery Control Act and the Periphery Policy.”

      The petitioner Aalok Jagga, a local advocate, had challenged the permissibility of the project and even contended in the PIL that the housing project, which is proposed to come up in the Sukhna Lake catchment area, requires clearance under the Wildlife (Protection) Act which had already been refused to the project. The promoters of the project had sought a review of the refusal, which is still pending.

      The promoters had raised contentions that the Periphery Control Act is not applicable to the project while the petitioner has pleaded that the Act is applicable. Admitting the contentions raised by the petitioner, the HC has ruled that the Periphery Control Act is applicable to the project but the promoters of the project shall have to apply for the required clearances, permissions under the relevant provisions to carry on with the project.

      Commenting on the order, a Tata Housing Development Company spokesperson said, “We welcome the decision by the Court which has been taken in the best interest of society at large. We assure that the manner in which the project has been planned will make it another architectural marvel. The project is conceptualised as a Green Development — to be in total harmony with the environment. The project will proceed further after securing necessary permissions from the appropriate authorities.”




      ‘Tata Camelot can proceed after nod under various Acts’
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      • #4

        #4

        Re : Where has Tata Housing (Camelot) project ‘violated law’, HC asks petitioner

        HC halts construction around Sukhna

        Jolt for Tata’s Camelot project, others as court moves to save Chandigarh’s skyline


        Tribune News Service

        Chandigarh, May 14

        Tata Camelot’s ambitious plan to raise skyscrapers in the vicinity of Sukhna Lake has run into another legal hurdle. Taking up the Save Sukhna case, a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today directed Punjab, Haryana and the Chandigarh Administration to not just stop construction activity in the lake’s catchment area, but also demolish, without notice, any construction being carried out against the high court mandate.

        “We direct Punjab and Haryana as well as the Chandigarh Administration to put their enforcement agencies in action and construction activities going on in the catchment area as per the map of the Survey of India should be stopped immediately; and any construction raised in violation of the directions issued by the court be demolished without issuing any notice,” the Bench of Acting Chief Justice MM Kumar and Justice Alok Singh ruled. The development is significant as the Survey of India map says Camelot project is in the catchment area.

        The high court has already taken on record the map prepared by the Survey of India defining the catchment area falling in Punjab, Chandigarh and Haryana. As per the map, villages of Kaimbwala and Khuda Alisher in Chandigarh, Nayagaon and part of Kansal in Punjab and parts of Saketri and Mahadevpur in Haryana form part of the catchment area. The Camelot site, located in Kansal village, falls in the Sukhna catchment area.

        Otherwise also, amicus curiae or friend of the court Tanu Bedi has all along been insisting that Tata Camelot housing project would affect the fragile catchment area of the lake.

        Going into the background of the controversy, the Bench asserted: “In the order dated March 14, 2011, directions were issued to restore the old glory of the lake by observing that no housing colony or building activity took place in the catchment area, either within the forest area or agriculture area. We have been apprised that despite the direction, construction activities are going on….

        “Both the states, as well as the UT, shall submit their report with regard to the violation of the directions issued in the order dated March 14 last year and the action taken against the violators”.

        The Bench asserted that the minutes of a meeting on the Save Sukhna issue reveal that the Survey of India map has been accepted in principle by the UT Administration.

        But Punjab has adopted an “unacceptable attitude and is still making submissions that the map is unacceptable”.

        The Bench added the state had endorsed the authenticity of the map during the proceedings of another petition. “Now, it cannot go back on the stand taken,” the Bench ruled.

        The Bench further observed that it did not feel the necessity of experts’ sub-committee to prepare a fresh map. “The Administration shall give wide publicity to the catchment areas as depicted in the map prepared by the Survey of India and adopted by the UT Administration as the map of the catchment area so that the general public is made aware that no construction is permitted in the area," the Bench concluded.

        What the Court said

        We direct the States of Punjab and Haryana as well as the Chandigarh Administration to put their enforcement agencies in action and construction activities going on in the catchment area as per the Survey of India map should be stopped immediately; and any construction raised in violation of the directions issued by the court be demolished without issuing any notice — HC Bench

        The catchment area

        - A Survey of India map says the Tata Camelot project site in Kansal village lies in the catchment area of Sukhna Lake

        - The HC has already taken on record the map defining the catchment area falling in Punjab, Chandigarh and Haryana

        - As per the map, villages of Kaimbwala and Khuda Alisher in Chandigarh, Nayagaon and part of Kansal in Punjab and parts of Saketri and Mahadevpur in Haryana are in the catchment area



        The Tribune, Chandigarh, India - Main News
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        • #5

          #5

          Re : Where has Tata Housing (Camelot) project ‘violated law’, HC asks petitioner

          Once termed as a golden project now bitting the dust. A friend of mine whose father was an MLA and has stake in this has been waiting for this project completition for ages. He has now become sick and tired of evaluating it on day to day basis. Feel sorry for him but it goes on to prove no one is above the law of the land.

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          • #6

            #6

            Re : Where has Tata Housing (Camelot) project ‘violated law’, HC asks petitioner

            Tata’s ambitious Camelot project back on track

            Tribune News Service

            Chandigarh, August 21
            Tata Camelot’s ambitions plan of raising skyscrapers in the Sukhna Lake’s vicinity today received an impetus after the Punjab and Haryana High Court made it clear that the orders prohibiting construction in the lake’s catchment area were not applicable to the project alone.

            Taking up the "Save Sukhna" case, a Division Bench headed by Chief Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul said it was not vacating the stay, but the orders were not operative as far as the Camelot project was concerned.

            The Bench was of the view that the Camelot issue had already been looked into by a coordinate Bench of the High Court on March 26 last year and it would not go into the issue again.

            Appearing before the Bench on behalf of Sarin Memorial Legal Aid Foundation, senior advocate ML Sarin argued that the matter had not been dealt with previously. He said the Bench hearing the matter earlier had verbally observed that it was not going into the catchment area issue. Similar arguments were raised by UT's senior standing counsel Sanjay Kaushal and counsel DS Patwalia. With this, it is clear that the stay orders are applicable to constructions other than the Camelot project. Counsel for some landowners, during the hearing this morning, sought the vacation of stay on construction activity on the ground that their properties were located in the same area.

            But the Bench refused to entertain the plea, stating that a specific application for the vacation of stay had not been moved by the landowners.

            The Bench made it clear that the issue of construction activity in the catchment area would now be decided once and for all and individual applications would not be entertained at this stage.

            The mega project was to come up on 53 acres. It was expected to have 1,734 flats in high-rise buildings, some up to 35 floors. The directions came after the counsel for Tata Camelot Abhishek Manu Singhvi told the Bench that the matter was res judicata, meaning already judged. In an attempt to substantiate his contentions, he referred to and read out the High Court judgment of March 26 last year which indicated that the Tata Camelot project could make further progress after grant of clearances, sanctions, permissions and fulfillment of other pre-conditions.

            Singhvi told the court that the necessary clearance from the Union Ministry of Environment had been obtained on August 14.

            Amicus curiae or the friend of the court, Tanu Bedi, sought directions for placing on record the clearance. She argued that the initial order against the coming up of a housing colony or building activity in the catchment area was prohibited on March 14, 2011, about a year before the March 26, 2012, orders.

            She said the previous year’s order, referred to by the Camelot, had not dealt with the prohibition order. Bedi also referred to the housing company’s own reply to say it fell in the catchment area.

            Bedi referred to an earlier affidavit of the company, in which officials from the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest said the project came under the Sukhna Lake catchment area. The project was on a highly sensitive zone, as per the master plan, she added.

            What High Court Bench said


            -Construction activity in Sukhna' Lake’s catchment area to be decided once and for all
            -Won’t entertain individual applications at this stage
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            • #7

              #7

              Re : Where has Tata Housing (Camelot) project ‘violated law’, HC asks petitioner

              HC clears decks for Tata housing project

              Decks have been cleared for the Tata Camelot Housing Project, which falls in the Sukhna catchment area, after the Punjab and Haryana High Court vacated a stay on construction of the housing project on Tuesday. The court, however, ruled that no other construction activity will be allowed in the catchment area. It has also made it clear that the housing project will be allowed only after the builders obtain all mandatory clearances from the Central and state government authorities. The direction was passed during the resumed hearing of a public interest litigation (PIL) concerning Sukhna Lake.

              Senior lawyer Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing on behalf of Tata, argued at length challenging the March 14, 2011, High Court order staying construction in the Lake's catchment area. Singhvi said that order was adversely affecting the housing project and claimed that Tata had already obtained all the necessary and mandatory clearances from the authorities concerned.

              On March 26, last year, a division bench of the High Court had disposed of a PIL arising out of a suo motu action on the upcoming housing project in Kansal. The suo motu notice was taken on the basis of a news item published by Chandigarh Newsline highlighting the danger to city's skyline due to the project. Disposing of the petition, the Court had directed Tata to obtain all the clearances, particularly those pertaining to the Wildlife Protection and Environment Protection Act.

              It was in another petition, however, that a Division Bench had stayed construction in the Sukhna catchment area on March 14, 2011. The Bench passed directions "to restore the old glory of the lake" by observing that no housing colony or building activity should took place in the catchment area, either within the forest area or agriculture area.

              Singhvi averred that this order was an impediment to Tata's housing project. He contended that the High Court in its March 26, 2012 order has already given a go ahead to the housing project and had decided on all issues concerning it. This was vehemently contested by Sanjay Kaushal, senior standing counsel for Chandigarh Administration. Kaushal argued that the petition disposed of by the High Court pertained to the housing project and that the present petition pertained to construction in catchment area. Kaushal further submitted that since the Tata Housing project falls in the catchment area, the stay should apply to it as well.

              Finding force in the stand taken by Tata, that its issue has already been adjudicated upon by the Court, a division bench comprising Chief Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice Augustine George Masih decided to vacate the stay on the construction. The moratorium on all other constructions in the catchment area, however, will continue till further orders.

              Tricity's first skyscraper

              The Tata Housing Project was to be Tricity's first skyscraper with 1,500-1,700 high-end flats spread across 53 acres. Of this, 21.2 acres is for an MLAs' society, 28.7 acres for the Defence Services Self-Supporting Society and the rest for another private party. High profile-members include Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal, Union Minister Preneet Kaur, both the sitting and former Speakers, ministers, former ministers, MLAs and former MLAs.

              The Punjab MLAs' Cooperative House Building Society with nearly 100 members was formed in 2000-01 with members pooling in Rs 5 lakh each, entitling each member to a 500 sq yard plot. Of the Rs 82.5 lakh cash, Tata paid Rs 33 lakh after signing the agreement. Two installments of Rs 24.75 lakh each were to be paid after clearance and starting of the project.

              After the High Court had stayed construction, the MLAs had recently decided to call off the partnership. The MLAs, both ruling and opposition, had met the company executives to scrap the deal and demand refund of the money. Tata, however, had reportedly refused to cancel the partnership since the case was pending in Court.







              HC clears decks for Tata housing project - Indian Express
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              • #8

                #8

                Re : Where has Tata Housing (Camelot) project ‘violated law’, HC asks petitioner

                New Delhi: The Supreme Court has sought responses of the Centre and Punjab government on a plea against Punjab and Haryana High Court's decision to allow Tata to go ahead with its housing project coming up near Sukhna Lake in Chandigarh.

                A bench headed by Justice R M Lodha issued notices and sought responses from the Centre, Punjab government, Archaeological Survey of India, Union Territory of Chandigarh as well as Tata Camelot Housing Colony after advocate appearing for Tata assured the company will maintain status quo regarding its project.

                The order came on a special leave petition filed by Chandigarh residents who have challenged the High Court's decision to allow the Tata Camelot Housing Project coming up in the catchment area of the lake.

                The city residents in their plea have alleged the project coming up on the northern periphery of Chandigarh is not in conformity with the "vision" of Le-Corbusier, the city's architect.

                They have also alleged the Nagar Panchayat Naya Gaon Master Plan 2021, under which the project is permitted, "was tailor-made to suit the needs of the respondent/builder".

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                • #9

                  #9

                  Re : Where has Tata Housing (Camelot) project ‘violated law’, HC asks petitioner

                  Tata's Camelot housing project in Chandigarh falls under seismic zone, HC told

                  Tata's Camelot housing project in Chandigarh falls under seismic zone, HC told - The Economic Times
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                  • #10

                    #10

                    Re : Where has Tata Housing (Camelot) project ‘violated law’, HC asks petitioner

                    Is there any update on this issue?
                    Has court given any ruling/verdict on the status of the project ?

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