In what may be considered a landmark judgment in connection with the settlement of weekly markets, public parking places, fish markets, etc., within the territory of the elected civic bodies of Assam, the Gauhati High Court (HC) has termed the practice of extension of the period of settlement year after year as “illegal”.
The HC passed this historical judgment on Thursday in connection with six writ petitions filed by seven lessees challenging the process of NITs undertaken by the Mangaldai Municipal Board for settlement of different markets and public parking places involving several lakhs of rupees. The lessees in their petitions (WP (C ) 5634, 5635 , 5636 , 5586 , 5590 and 5593 of 2018) challenged the NIT process at a time when they have been availing the extension order till March 2019 . The High Court initially putting injunction in the ongoing NIT process inviting quotations from the intending lessees in its final judgment on Thursday turned down the prayer of the petitioner lessees and termed the practice of extension as “illegal”. The verdict has also paved the way for completing the NIT process and making of fresh settlements by the Municipal Board.
The above piece of information was given by Pankaj Chakravorty, Executive Officer of Mangaldai Municipal Board-cum-Additional Deputy Commissioner (ADC), Darrang. Talking to Northeast Now, he said that the verdict of the Gauhati HC has proved to be a “morale booster for sincere and honest staff and elected members of the civic body as it was a battle against a long dishonest practice. We all welcome the decision of the court and it is really a landmark judgment in the history of the civic bodies since it would help them to make settlements through NITs on a yearly basis and also increase the quantum of revenue earning.”
He also pointed out that in Mangaldai Municipal Board the illegal practice of extension has been going on since 2003 resulting in loss of revenue to the tune of several crores of rupees. “On Friday, we have come to a settlement of seven ‘mahals’ for a period of six months and the statistics showed that our revenue has been increased by an amount of more than Rs 31 lakh. I am pretty much sure that when we will complete this NIT process for a full period financial year with enough publicity, we will gain by nearly Rs 1 crore.”
While addressing media persons on Friday, Chakravorty issued strict warning to all the building owners of the municipal area who constructed buildings violating the different provisions of the Building Rules being effected in 2014 including the Assam Notified Urban Areas (Other than Guwahati) Building Rules 2014. He informed the media persons as regards forming a special joint technical force with representatives of various Government technical bodies to conduct a physical verification of all the building permissions issued after 2014 and also about strictly following the Disaster Management guidelines in this regard keeping in mind the interests of the posterity of Mangaldai town.