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Wednesday, Feb 09, 2005

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Demolition of building stayed

By Our Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI, FEB. 8. The Supreme Court has stayed the demolition of a residential building at Mylapore in Chennai. The Madras High Court had directed that it be pulled down as it was allegedly an unauthorised construction. On February 4, the apex court ordered `status quo' till Monday.

A Bench, comprising Justice N. Santosh Hegde and Justice S.B. Sinha, stayed the January 31 order only insofar as it pertained to the demolition of the building and issued notice to the respondents (petitioners before the High Court) and the Chennai Corporation on the special leave petition filed by the petitioner, Salahudeen Babu. Appearing for the petitioner, senior counsel Soli Sorabjee submitted that the impugned order was passed when adjudication proceedings were pending.

The remedy available to the petitioner before the authorities was frustrated by the order.

`No deviation'

Counsel K.K. Mani submitted that there was no finding of any deviation in the building. Neither the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority nor the Corporation filed any petition seeking the demolition.

He drew the attention of the court that the Corporation officials had demolished a portion of the building despite the `status quo' order.

But this claim was denied by counsel for the Corporation, Ayyam Perumal.

The Bench wondered "how a demolition order can be passed in a writ petition when there was no adjudication."

The Bench, staying the demolition, said the authorities concerned should consider the application/representation of the petitioner uninfluenced by the observations made by the High Court in the impugned order. On a writ petition from P.T. Prabhakar and others, a single judge of the High Court restrained Salahudeen Babu from going ahead with the construction.

On a writ appeal from Mr. Babu, a Division Bench ordered demolition of the building. The SLP was directed against this judgment.

Mr. Babu contended that the High Court erred in ordering the demolition when the subject matter in the appeal was whether he could proceed with further construction.

He said he had submitted a revised plan with the authorities and when this was still under consideration, the High Court prejudged the issue by ordering the demolition. Seeking to quash the judgment, he sought an interim stay of its operation, as he would suffer irreparable loss if the order were implemented pending disposal of the SLP.

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