The Chandigarh administration has withdrawn its order, in which it had instructed the estate office not to apply the Chandigarh Estate Rules, 2009, retrospectively.
The order was issued on April 3 by the finance department on the advice of legal remembrancer (LR), which stated that the estate rules cannot be applied retrospectively. The estate office was asked not to issue misuse notices for violation of building bylaws retrospectively.
Confirming the development, assistant estate officer (AEO) Balbir Singh Dhol said the order had been withdrawn and any further instructions on this matter would be conveyed as and when a fresh decision is taken.
Explaining the rationale for making the move, Dhol said the order was issued by the joint secretary (estate) who is not competent authority to make any amendment in the existing rules. “Changes in the rules can be made only at the level of the administrator and such changes have to be notified,” said Dhol, who had written to the finance department for withdrawing the order.
In 2007, the UT administration had formulated new estate rules, and misuse charges were enhanced from Rs 10 per square foot to Rs 500 a square foot. However, these were applicable only on allotments made after the rules came into effect. For old allotments, the rules were amended on December 14, 2009.
To put a check on misuse of commercial property by traders in different sectors, including 17, 22, 26, 34 and 35, the estate office served around 1,000 misuse notices amounting to several crores since the new rules came into force.
The Punjab and Haryana high court, in a case dated October 8, 2012, had observed that the administration is not eligible to impose misuse penalty without making changes in the Capital of Punjab (Development and Regulation) Act, 1952, and getting it approved from Parliament.
Slamming the authorities, Chandigarh Beopar Mandal (CBM) president Charanjiv Singh said the traders would continue to face harassment at the hands of the estate office. He further said the administration was legally not eligible to issue misuse notices as per the directions of Punjab and Haryana high court.