Chennai: Madras High Court today ordered maintenance of status quo over the issue of closure and lock up of buildings of 15 colleges in Dharmapuri district for their alleged failure to get approval under the Town and Country Planning Act.
The division bench, comprising Justices N Paul Vasanthaku Vasanthakumar and K Ravichandrabaabu ordered that status quo be maintained while disposing of petitions by 15 colleges, challenging notices issued by Deputy Director of Town and Country Planning to apply for approval under the Act, failure of which would result in sealing and locking of the buildings.
The bench directed Deputy Directors of Town and Country Planning of the District to get clarification from their Director on who the competent authority is, since colleges claim the buildings were built only after due permission from the competent authority.
The College Managements contented their buildings were constructed only after getting plans approved from the competent authority/local body. But they were served with a communication from the authorities to obtain permission for buildings already constructed after getting necessary approval.
The state government, while inserting Section 47-A to the Tamil Nadu Town and country planning Act, 2010, had enacted an amendment to it, as per which it was mandatory for the local authorities to get prior concurrence from the Director of Town and Country Planning before granting building permission.
The colleges claimed their approval and permission was got prior to amendment to the act and buildings were already constructed as per the approved plans sanctioned by local authorities before the amended act came into force.
After hearing the petitioners, the bench said that since their contention was they had obtained the approved plans from the competent authority, it was open to them to submit their objections about the impugned orders.
It directed the the Deputy Directors of Town and County Planning to get a clarification from the Commissioner/ Director of the Town and Country Planning to take further action in the matter as the action initiated was based on the order of the said Authority.
The Bench also directed regional Deputy Directors of Town and Country Planning to pass orders in four weeks after getting clarification from the Director of Town and CountryPlanning and to maintain status quo till then.