A Punjab and Haryana high court division bench has directed Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) to carry out inspection of Sector-70 flats following complaints of design defects.
The inspection will be carried out by a comprising a senior architect of Punjab Urban Development Authority (PUDA), assistant town planner from the town and country planning department and sub-divisional engineer within one month.
The direction came on the petition of one Sunita Sharma, a resident of Sector 70, who had approached the high court as GMADA cancelled the transfer of flat in her family’s name due to modifications in its original design, which GMADA termed non-compoundable changes.
The petitioner had argued that upon taking over the possession of the flat, it was noticed that there was no way to approach its terrace. During monsoon, seepage from the roof also occurred, which not only damaged the structure but also the property. The GMADA authorities were approached, but efforts went into vain. To deal with the problem, the family installed a temporary steel ladder to go upstairs and to repair the seepage problem. The court was also told that fiber sheets to protect windows and the outer area from sun rays and rain water were also attached, modifying its original design. “As all the changes in the flat in question were need-based and were necessary because the petitioner was forced to do so as the flat provided by GMADA not only had material defects but was also an unauthorised construction because as per the basic building laws, every building must have a stair case to approach a terrace portion of that building,” the petitioner had argued before the court seeking its intervention.
The HC bench of justice Surya Kant and justice PB Bajanthri observed that some genuine difficulties like perennial seepage in the rooftop, for which she had to install makeshift staircases for carrying out repair works, were pointed out by the petitioner. “Some of the alterations made by her are essential to keep the dwelling unit worth habitable. Hence, we direct the GMADA authorities to carry out a fresh inspection of the subject flat as well as all other flats in the same building/vicinity, and thereafter, take a holistic view as to what type of additions/alterations can be included amongst the compoundable, and can be regularised for better living conditions of the occupants,” the high court bench said, further directing the inspecting team to find out as to how much unauthorised constructions could be regularised on the deposit of compounding fee in the said area.
“If the inspecting team is of the view that staircases can’t be permitted to be retained, in that event, it will be the sole responsibility of GMADA/PUDA to carry out necessary repairs on the rooftops and ensure that there is no seepage into the top floor flats,” the court said, asking GMADA and PUDA to ensure the upkeep of the roof top/water tanks and/other amenities, etc.