Karnataka proposes jail for officials who don’t stop illegal constructions
In a move to curb rampant illegal constructions in urban areas, especially Bengaluru, and to keep a check on babus who turn a blind eye to them, the state government has proposed a slew of punishments and fines under the Karnataka Municipal Corporation Act, 1976.
Facing the heat will be guilty civic officials, builders, contractors and property owners.
In a draft notification issued on November 27, the government has prescribed punishments and penalties for 52 offenses.
A government advocate on Wednesday informed the Karnataka high court that these draft rules have been published and public has been invited to submit their objections and suggestions, if any, within 30 days.
The notification also provides for punishing officials who fail to abide by the byelaws. Failure to hold inspections when necessary, failure to keep documents at construction sites, failure to display sanction and licence at the site warrant a fine of Rs 5,000 and any default to pay it entails simple imprisonment for 10 days.
Failure to issue commencement certificate within 15 days from the date of intimation too draws a fine of Rs 2,000 and two days of imprisonment if it’s not paid.
The court is hearing a PIL filed by Bengaluru-based advocate Umapathi S. The petitioner claimed that despite illegal constructions and encroachments across municipal areas, the authorities have not initiated any action to prescribe punishment as required under the KMC Act.
According to him, if punishment is prescribed, it could be a deterrent to field level officers (engineers) who ignore such deviations and unauthorized actions.
Crime and punishment
* Two years simple imprisonment and Rs 50K fine
Illegal construction in violation of byelaws
- Failure to act /demolish any building that has unlawfully commenced or completed
- Failure to stop construction of any building which endangers human life
- Prevailing on an officer lawfully dealing with an issue to act illegally
- Construction /reconstruction of building in contravention of the declaration
- Allowing construction of building in contravention of norms
- Construction of building without permission from the commissioner
- Failure to stop the illegal construction of a building
- Construction without permission of any external roof, pandal or wall, shed or fence of cloth, grass, leaves, mats or other inflammable material
- Failure to consider show cause submitted by owner/occupier
- One year simple imprisonment and Rs 25 k fine
- Officials who intentionally, without giving any reason, refuse to give approval for construction
- Illegal regularisation of unlawful building