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BENGALURU: Bye-law 7.2 of the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) Building By-laws, 2003 does not impose a blanket prohibition on sanctioning a plan for a plot measuring less than 50 square metres or 600 square feet, the Karnataka high court observed.“But such sanction would have to be considered and acceded to by following due principles of law in an equitable manner in the interest of citizens” Justice Suraj Govindaraj said in his recent order, while directing authorities to issue guidelines for granting building plans, including in respect of commercial properties raised on such small plots.The judge also noted that bye-law 7.2 provides for an exemption from the 50-square-metre-cap for sites pertaining to housing schemes for economically weaker sections (EWS), low-income groups (LIGs), slum clearance and improvement schemes, reconstruction in case of densely populated areas, and plots sub-divided due to family partitions.“If sites of housing schemes for EWS, LIG, slum clearance and improvement schemes, as well as reconstruction in case of densely populated areas, can be of area less than 50 sq metres, I see no reason why the same would not be applicable to the sites of private individuals. Of course in this regard, this court cannot lay down parameters as to how the discretion has to be exercised. It is left to the state to provide and make known necessary guidelines for the officers concerned to apply in such cases,” the judge said.The petitions, filed between 2017 and 2023, contained two sets of circumstances. The first set is from the petitioners who complain that a private respondent had put up an illegal construction without obtaining a plan sanction and in violation of the BBMP building bye-laws.The second one pertained to BBMP taking action against the petitioners for having put up constructions illegally without obtaining plan sanctions. What was common in both sets was that the properties measured less than 50 square metres and landowners’ applications for plan sanctions were rejected citing by-laws 7.2.Considering the bye-laws as well as the exceptional circumstances enumerated therein, the judge pointed out that the case pertained to the sub-division of family properties and such plots sold to a third party.“Considering the value of land in a city like Bengaluru, purchasing a plot less than 50 square metres is a dream for many and they would have bought such a property by investing their hard-earned money, probably their life savings and in some cases even by obtaining financial accommodation from not only banks but from private lenders,” the judge noted.

Published On Jan 12, 2024 at 09:17 AM IST

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