Observing that mushrooming of illegal colonies across the country is a menace to urban development, the Supreme Court today said there is a need for a comprehensive action plan by state governments to prevent these illegal colonies from coming up.

A Bench of Justice L Nageswara Rao and Justice B R Gavai appointed Senior Advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan as amicus curiae in the matter and asked him to suggest what can be done by the government to stop illegal colonies.

"Mushrooming of illegal colonies in all these cities in this country, the consequences are so drastic. We have seen floods in Hyderabad and Kerala, all this is because of irregular colonies", the Bench said.

"Unless there is some comprehensive action plan by the state governments so as to prevent these colonies from coming up, take these relevant officers to task for allowing these colonies, and thereafter one of the suggestions is to stop the registration so that people do not claim equities. We will have to find some way of making state governments act on this. This is a menace to urban development," the Bench said.

The Court directed that the entire records be furnished to the amicus who will submit his suggestions within two weeks. "Amicus is permitted to prepare a questionnaire and circulate it to the states and union territories. List after three weeks," the Bench said.

At the outset, Advocate Sravan Kumar, appearing for the petitioner, submitted that a large number of unregular establishments are made to be regular which leads to unregulated development. "Floods are coming due to irregular constructions. There needs to be a regular proper development, even the Environment Ministry says that there has to be approval," he said.

The Apex Court was hearing a petition filed by social worker Juvvadi Sagar Rao alleging that Telangana, Tamil Nadu, and Andhra Pradesh governments have been implementing regularisation of illegal layouts in their respective states. The petition alleged that state governments are regularising the illegal act committed by the real estate mafia with the help of government officials in the respondent states.

The plea contended that the states have witnessed severe urban flooding, unregulated growth, traffic jams, shortage in drainage systems, etc which have caused irreparable loss to the public and private properties besides loss of life. "But the authorities ignored the serious disasters faced by them due to unregulated urban growth in the Respondent State. The authorities again issued Notifications for the regularization of illegal layouts and unauthorised colonies", the plea states.

"This is a gross violation of rule of law, building rules, etc. The act of respondents will encourage illegal layouts and discourage the citizens who have followed the rule of law. The state of Telangana, particularly Hyderabad city and Warangal has faced severe flooding due to unplanned development," the plea says.

With PTI inputs