SC urges Centre, states to conduct environmental impact assessments for urban development projects
The court made the recommendation while prohibiting the fragmentation of residential units in Phase I of Chandigarh.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the Centre and states to take note of the damage to the environment on account of haphazard urban development, reported Live Law.
The court also urged authorities at the Centre and state level to make necessary provisions to ensure that Environmental Impact Assessment studies are carried out before permission is given for urban development.
A division bench comprising Justices BR Gavai and BV Nagarathna was hearing a plea by a residents’ welfare association against the practice of converting single residential units into apartments in Chandigarh.
The petition challenged an order of the Punjab and Haryana High Court from 2021 that had allowed share-wise or floor-wise sale of houses in the northern sectors of Chandigarh. The order pertained to parts of the city that were designed by Swiss-French architect Charles-Édouard Jeanneret, better known as Le Corbusier.
The plea alleged that such constructions altered the character of Chandigarh and overburdened its existing infrastructure and facilities, reported Live Law.
Responding to the petition, the Supreme Court on Tuesday banned fragmentation of residential units in Phase 1 of Chandigarh. The bench said that the number of floors in Phase I buildings should be restricted to three with a uniform maximum height as deemed appropriate by the city’s Heritage Committee, reported The Indian Express.
“The Chandigarh Administration shall not resort to formulate rules or byelaws without prior consultation of the Heritage Committee and prior approval of the Central Government,” the order said.
The court also mentioned the environmental disaster at Joshimath in Uttarakhand where 723 homes have developed cracks due to the gradual sinking of the ground. The bench also noted that unplanned urban development in Bengaluru had compounded problems during the floods in the city in September.
“It is necessary that a proper balance is struck between sustainable development and environmental protection,” the bench said in its order.