Monday, September 3, 2018

Hon. Supreme Court, Real Estate & Dream of Owning a Home!

 “The law does not expect a man to be prepared to defend every act of his life which may be suddenly and without notice alleged against him.”… John Marshall.

John James Marshall was an American politician and the fourth Chief Justice of the United States from 1801 to 1835. A native of Virginia, he was the last chief justice born a British subject prior to the American Revolutionary War. No wonder it’s the British conservative blood & free philosophy of America, is what speaking from the mouth of Marshall in his above quote about Law & the bearers of it i.e. popularly called as  “Judges’,  in our country. But keeping due respect to our Courts which at present are always making headlines with the verdicts which asks govt if not common man, to defend their every act! And the latest ruling is about stay  to any new construction/ permission in entire country aiming at the State Govt's which has not made any concrete policy about management of solid waste i.e. in simple language is garbage management! Wonderful judgment is what most people especially NGO's will say but let’s remind that all those who are residing in some home of their own will only say this as still in this country millions don’t have a home of their own not even rented! And every such verdict is making the dream home a bit costlier as well difficult (read impossible)! Again, I am not dishonoring verdict of Hon Court but in last few incidences banning new construction seems has become motto of the system, reasons of which we will surely discuss but have a look at this; local bodies (read like of  PMC, PCMC, BMC) are unable to supply enough water to the residents, stop new constructions or giving permissions, the civic body doesn’t have a drainage net work, stop new construction, sand is being excavated from the rivers, stop new construction, hill top hill slopes are being encroached, stop new construction around them, streams/ natural water ways are being shrunk, stop new constructions around them,  air port’s suddenly realized their flying norms, stop new constructions, defense establishments has changed their boundary norms, stop new constructions, environment clearance violence has been observed in some case, stop new construction & the list is ever growing! Some times on the name of environment conservation, sometimes on name of national security, sometimes for civic issues & sometimes sue-motto as its Supreme Court, a Supreme body which supposedly works for justice, the new constructions gets stopped & I repeat I don’t blame the Hon Courts yet when it looks in the interest of greater goods somewhere our own judicial principle also needs to be taken in consideration i.e. “Even hundred guilty can be forgiven but one innocent should not be punished”! I personally differ from this tag line but what when hundreds of innocents are getting punished for guilt of somebody else?

Here when I say stop new constructions it means new permissions as well even revision of the on-going projects too i.e. loading of TDR or road widening fsi or amenity space fsi everything! Have someone ever thought what it is for a developer to get a stay on his work or stop work or halting the ongoing project & why all of this even head line in news papers that Supreme Court has stayed all the new constructions in the State can make havoc for the business! Well, imagine pre wedding night at Bride’s home, all are making preparations for next day & suddenly a message comes from Groom’s side, that “Ye shaadi nahi ho sakti” (this marriage won’t happen)! We all are aware of this most favorite Bolywood movie scene, even in recent hit movie “Queen” (starring kangna ranaut), its shown & obvious the outcome is disaster, sad faces at bride’s place, heroines mom shading tears, heroin’s dad getting a mild heart attack, relatives whispering about what must have happened, definitely the girl must have had some affair (due respect to women power, this is reality in India, it’s always the girl who is on wrong side & never the boy) & all such drama around! Well, now you can imagine what must be the scene at developer’s office when such sudden blow comes by verdict of Hon Court announcing stop work or stay on new construction or permissions. Indeed it’s a big financial damage it creates doubts in minds of home buyers & affects not only real estate market sentiments but repute of entire industry which is supposed to make homes for citizens of this very country!

No, I am not comparing builders with bride nor showing any sympathy as the only similarity is like the bride, builders are always wrong is also belief or myth in this country. By the way there are many not just few good builders who respects law & doing the job of building homes as their respectable profession to make some money & I see no wrong in it! Had it not been so then all those who are shouting against builders (even the reporters of news media) wouldn’t have been in position to write their anguish via their pen (read laptops) sitting in their cozy homes or offices! The problem is in any of such stop construction cases Hon Court isn’t referring to the builders in first place neither any builder is even party in most of such cases (barring exception of some cases)! Here party doesn’t meant the night life party but it means one of the two sides in the case & mostly its Govt of some State or all the States, like in present case of solid waste management the Court gives guide lines to the State Govt of stopping any new construction because of the wrong policy or no policy or inadequate infrastructure provision. Whatever the reason is but the axe falls on builders head is the end result! As leave apart the myths about the builders & their enormous wealth & ways they have earned this wealth (gone are the days) yet by what logic you can stop an ongoing work or put stay on permission for extending floors by prevailing law for which every sanction has been taken duly or the said land has been bought only after checking its buildable potential by every possible law! And especially when the fault (sorry for the term) lies with State govt or local bodies which repeatedly has failed to make proper policies as well implementing them to make common man’s life better about which Hon Court is concerned!

To start, take the present case where Hon Court has asked State Govt to submit the policy regarding managing solid waste. And now after the Court has put fine as well stopped new construction’s State Govt is saying it has a policy in place about sold waste management, well who has stopped till now to submit this policy is what I will ask! With due respect to the said policy of our State, have a look at our Pune, all you see is hips of garbage  all around & news about every fort-night Phursungi villagers blocking the garbage carrying trucks going towards the garbage depot located in their back yard. And I don’t blame the Phursungi villagers, as if any one has any doubts what your garbage can do to others then do visit Phursungi village as well the garbage depot where all the garbage of this so called Smart & Most Livable City is dumped! In such case if someone goes to the Court to make their life a bit livable then the Court is bound to ask Govt (read PMC) to come up with solution for the nuisance caused by the garbage dumping & if with repeated warning Govt doesn’t make any such policy leave apart implementing it then the only solution Court has got is ban new construction at least! Same is case with sand digging from the river beds which is threat to the environment as natural flow of rivers gets disturbed by this rampant digging but then why don’t govt come up with controlled digging at multiple places than targeting one location is what common man (read builder) will ask! And then there is water issue which by every day is becoming grave as new homes means more water is a fact. And indeed if govt is not taking any steps to improve water supply then again the Hon Court has no option but stop new constructions!

But what about traffic & roads getting chocked by cars & two wheelers, why the Hon Court doesn’t ask to stop production of all the vehicles till the traffic problem is solved? Also what about tobacco products like cigarettes which are directly act as killers for millions of human beings, why don’t Hon Courts on sue-motto stops production of any such tobacco products? Even the Computer or IT industry generates huge e-waste most of which is non recyclable & a big problem to all the civic bodies, so why not stop all new computer companies & It parks? All the e-commerce companies like Amazon or Flipcart (sorry for mentioning names) needs tons of plastic/ thermacol packaging which again generates tons of garbage, why no ban all such e-commerce companies?  Why every time it’s the builder fraternity which becomes victim of govt’s poor governance by the  Courts, is the question comes to my mind, just because builder’s profession is not as white collared as IT or Auto industry & builders don’t have any public standing in society? Any new construction is sanctioned or its permission is given by the local body i.e. PMC in case of Pune as per the DP i.e. development plan of the city which has gone through a cumbersome procedure routing via many govt agencies. It’s in a way committed document & entire city’s development as well growth depends on that. Vis this DP the civic body already knows how much load of population it can accommodate in coming twenty years & what kind of impact this development is going to make on surrounding environment, may it be water demand or green cover decrease or solid waste generation. If it is so & if the builder is getting permission through such DP provisions only then how can be any new construction becomes an unwanted burden on the nature or existing population? And on top of it all these civic bodies charges for every single rupee to the builder by way of development charges, premiums, ses, gst, stamp duty, csr tax & what not. And after getting hundreds of nocs' as well clearances & paying millions of rupees to the govt when a builder gets sanction for his project just because the said govt has failed in its job of performing the duty towards citizens, why a builder should get punished for it, is what I want to sincerely ask Hon Court!

I think here after before giving sanction to the regional plans or development plans of any city or the district, the said plans should be put for the approval of the Hon Court as at least then the projects keeping in tune with such DP’s won’t be affected by the humanitarian approach of the Hon Court is what I suggest!  High time the Hon Court instead asking for stopping the new permissions of homes every now & then, once for all stop entire development of the country for a specified time & ask respective govt’s to get all the policies related to development laid in place & get it approved from the Court itself! Or else one day the real estate industry will die forever for the guilt of non-performing govts’ & along with it will die the dream of owning a home, of millions of the citizens of this very country!

Sanjay Deshpande 
Sanjeevani Dev.

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