A division bench of Justices T S Sivagnanam and S Ananthi sought the state’s response in a public interest litigation filed by N Jegatheesan, president of the Tamil Nadu Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
The petitioner stated that the main objective of the Tamil Nadu Town and Country Planning Act-1971 was to maintain transparency in the development and usage of lands. As per the act, a master plan is prepared for towns and cities giving emphasis on zoning regulations for the use of land.
The master plan of towns and cities must be reviewed after conducting necessary surveys once in five years. However, the government has not granted approval for review of the master plan for the past 15 years.
The authorities are still using the old master plan, which was prepared several years ago, despite the fact that the classification and usage of land parcels have completely changed at present, he said.
As per the master plan of the city, most of the land parcels are classified as agricultural land and people have to approach the authorities seeking change of classification of land parcels. The applications for change of classification have to be sent to the government to be notified. The process is not only time consuming but also a burden to the authorities and causes difficulties for the public to get an approval for constructing a building, the PIL stated.
He stated that use of the old master plan, which was drafted several years ago, would also affect the industrial and commercial growth of the region as no one would show interest in investing in the region. Hence, the petitioner moved the Madurai bench of the HC seeking periodical review of the master plan of Madurai city as per the act.