At, High Court of Judicature at Madras
By, THE HONOURABLE CHIEF JUSTICE MR. SANJIB BANERJEE & THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE SENTHILKUMAR RAMAMOORTHY
For the Petitioner: T. Sathiyamoorthy, Advocate. For the Respondents: R3 & R5, P.H. Aravind Pandian, Addl. Adv. General assisted by R. Bharath Kumar, Stdg. Counsel (HB), R4, Karthikaa Ashok, Stdg. Counsel.
(Prayer: Petition filed under Article 226 of the Constitution of India praying for issue of Writ of Certiorarified Mandamus to call for the records relating to the proceedings bearing Letter No.L2/ 8107/ 2017 dated 22.12.2017 on the file of the 2nd Respondent and quash the same and consequentially direct the 3rd respondent to handover the Public purpose plots in Plot No.44415-A2 and 4415-B comprised in T.s.No.624 part Block 2 Mullam Village 6th Main Road Anna Nagar Aminjikarai Taluk Chennai District to the 4th Respondent for utilization for any public purpose.)Sanjib Banerjee, CJ.1. The matter pertains to the perceived illegality in the manner in which an open plot of land in Anna Nagar earmarked for public purpose has been sought to be constructed upon by the Housing Board.2. The petitioner, claiming to be a public-spirited association claims that the Master Plan envisaged the relevant plot of land to be kept reserved for public purpose. The writ petitioner seeks to suggest that the public purpose in such a scenario would imply that the land would be left open for a park. The writ petitioner insists that green areas have to be left open in the city and its suburbs as these form the lungs of the city. The writ petitioner suggests that the State ought to have preserved the plot and not allowed construction of flats thereat, for such flats to be sold by the Housing Board.3. With the ever increasing population of the country, there is a perennial stress on housing. Housing obviously requires land. There are laws that protect forest land. There are other laws that protect waterbodies from being filled up and constructed upon. Accordingly, land beyond the cities and towns must, by and large, be left untouched except to the extent already used up for public projects and for also housing the increasing number of residents in villages. Land is the most scarce of commodities and within a few generations, there will be no further land available for development unless science comes up with food substitutes that result in freeing vast tracts of land from agriculture. In the present case, the lands stood in the name of the Housing Board and pursuant to the permission sought by the Housing Board from the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority in 2017, due permission was accorded for making a construction at the subject plot. The State is also a party to the present proceedings and does not seem to take up the petitioner's cause.4. In the light of the urgent need for more housing projects to come up to meet the growing demand, the conversion of land, unless it already exists as a park or has been previously designated as such when other construction has been allowed to mushroom, cannot be interfered with on the ipse dixit of any public spirited individual or the vague perceptions of the Court. Here is a statutory body tasked with the purpose of providing space and a statutory authority dealing with town and country planning that have put their heads together and have approved the project or are in the process of implementing the project. No case of nepotism or favouritism or the like is made out.5. The Court has to yield to the better judgment of the specialised bodies in such a scenario, however much the Court may sympathize with the writ petitioner and seek green space to be left green and untouched.6. For the aforesaid reasons, the writ petition filed in 2020 challenging a decision of 2017 - though it may not have been contemporaneously known to the writ petitioner - cannot be entertained at this stage, particularly since the project has got off the ground and substantial work has been completed. The res
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pondent authorities are reminded that as much as they have to cater to the growing demands for housing, they also need to keep waterbodies and green spaces preserved so that those that are housed are given adequate air to breathe and not left hemmed in further by concrete.W.P.No.824 of 2021 is dismissed. There will be no order as to costs. Consequently, W.M.P.Nos.888 and 889 of 2021 also stand dismissed.