Himachal Pradesh Government was restrained by the Supreme Court of India to not give effect to Shimla Development Plan published on June 23, 2023, till next date of hearing.
Hearing the Special Leave Petition in the Matter of State of HP vs. Yogendra Mohan Sengupta, the Bench of Court 4 of SC comprising justices BR Gavai, Justice JB Pardiwala, and Justice Sanjay Kumar, passed this order.
The advocate representing the state of Himachal apprised the court that six weeks were given to publish the Draft Development Plan after duly considering the objections filed by the stakeholder holders.
He said that the Department of Town and Country Planning of Himachal Pradesh published the plan on June 23, 2023, according to the SC’s previous order. The state said that it would allow the court to place the copy of the record SDP in the court.
In the meantime, Justice Gavai raised a query that we learned about from news papers reporting that the state of HP is permitting the use of parking areas for residential purposes. ‘In case you would permit the cars to park on the road, Justice Gavai asked.
In the reply, counsel representing Himachal stated that the Advocate General could not come due to heavy rains. This query could be best explained by him urging the court to grant two weeks time.
The Justice Gavai warned the state that if the state government permitted the use of parking in a building for residential purposes, the court would come heavily.
The court allowed the state to place a copy of the Draft Development Plan on record, but the court restraining the state said that the plan would not take effect until the next date and that the next hearing would be held on the matter after two weeks.
Appearing for interpleader Hitanshu Jistu, advocate Raghav Goel informed the bench that despite paras. 2 and 3 of the Supreme Court order dated May 3, 2023, it was clearly stated that the state was to decide the objections, the objections were not decided by the state government, and no reasons have been conveyed.
The counsel for the state disputed the fact that all the objections were duely considered before publishing the draft plan. The state assured the court that the final DP would not take effect until further orders by the Supreme Court.
It is worthwhile to mention that the state government has challenged the National Green Tribunal judgement passed in November 2017 restraining the new construction on the basis of the interim development plan in the Shimla planning area. The state also challenged the NGT order, which declared the new Shimla Development Plan illegal, against the November 2017 order.
During the previous hearing in the matter, the SC allowed the state of Himachal to publish a new draft plan after considering and deciding 97 objections raised by the stakeholders.