The Madhya Pradesh High Court held that demolition of a house should be the last resort and that too after giving due opportunity to the house owner to get the house regularized.

The Court allowed the Petition seeking compensation for the illegal demolition of their house.

The Bench of Justice Vivek Rusia observed, “in either case, demolition should be the last recourse to be followed that too after giving a proper opportunity to the owner of the house to get it regularized”.

Advocate Tehjeeb Khan appeared for the Petitioner and Advocate Rishi Tiwari appeared for the Respondent.

The petitioners sought compensation for the illegal demolition of their houses by respondent Nos. 1 & 2. They claimed to have purchased the properties through registered sale deeds but were not given proper notice before demolition. The Municipal Corporation argued that the houses were built without proper permissions and encroached on public land.

However, the Court noted discrepancies in the demolition process, including serving notices to fictitious persons and lack of verification of property ownership.

Consequently, the Court held that the demolition was illegal and recommended disciplinary action against the responsible officials.

The Court noted, “it has become fashionable now for local administration and local bodies to demolish any house by drawing up proceedings without complying with the Principal of Natural Justice and publish it in the newspaper”. In this instance, the Respondents failed to demonstrate that the petitioners' houses were the only unauthorized constructions in the area. The petitioners bought existing houses, not vacant land, and if there were permission issues, the state government had provisions for regularization. Instead of demolition, authorities should have given the petitioners the opportunity to legalize their constructions through appropriate channels.

It is correct that no person has a right to construct the house without building permission or if the building permission is there then no construction is permissible in the MOS area”, the Bench noted.

Accordingly, the Court allowed the petition and directed the petitioners to award compensation of Rs.1 lakh each for the illegal demolition of their houses. The Court directed the Municipal Commissioner to take disciplinary action against the officers responsible for the falsified spot panchnama.

Cause Title: Radha Langri v Commissioner, Municipal Corporation

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