Ujjain bulldozer action: MP HC pulls up admin over ‘fashion to demolish homes’

Ujjain bulldozer action: MP HC pulls up admin over ‘fashion to demolish homes’

Madhya Pradesh: The High Court in Madhya Pradesh recently ruled in favour of two petitioners – one whose house was demolished and the other whose was about to get demolished – by the Ujjain Municipal Corporation.

In an order passed on February 1, the High Court ordered the district administration to pay a compensation of Rs 1 lakh each to the petitioners – Radha Langri and Vimla Gurjar.

While Langri said that her house was torn down without any warning, Gurjar received a notice but appealed to the High Court for a stay order.

Observing that it has become a ‘fashion’ for the district administration to demolish houses and structures without going through the procedure, it said, “It has become fashionable now for local administration and local bodies to demolish any house by drawing up proceedings without complying with the Principal of Natural Justice and publish it in the newspaper.”

“It appears that in this case also the criminal case was registered against one of the family members of the petitioners and demolition activities were carried out. It is not the case of the respondent that in the entire area under the Municipal Corporation Ujjain, these are the only two houses that are constructed without permission to be demolished,” the court added.

While the municipal corporation argued that the houses were built without permission and were not registered under the petitioners’ names in official records, the court was not convinced.

Taking the case of petitioner Langri, the court said that the building officer had no idea regarding the name of the petitioner or the owner of the building.

“Had the building officer gone to the spot he would have been informed about the name of the petitioner about the ownership…There is no such person in the name of Parvez Khan, there is no such document to show that he purchased the property. Only, based on this so-called oral information, the panchnama was drawn and drastic action for demolition has been taken,” the High Court said.

The High Court further said that such actions where an owner’s name was fictitious but demolition is carried out either way is very concerning. The court ordered disciplinary action against the officers involved.

While acknowledging the importance of building regulations, the High Court also emphasized that demolition should be a last resort after giving homeowners a chance to rectify any violations.