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Posted at: Jun 14, 2019, 8:00 AM; last updated: Jun 14, 2019, 8:00 AM (IST)

Notification silent on resumption of property

Notification silent on resumption of property
Solar plants installed on the rooftop at a house in Sector 21, Chandigarh. Photo: Manoj Mahajan

Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, June 13

The Punjab and Haryana High Court, taking cognisance of a petition filed in public interest against the UT Administration’s move to make solar rooftop systems mandatory, had made it clear that the notification issued in this regard was silent on the issue of resumption of property in case of non-compliance.

Taking up the petition filed by Col Prithipal Singh Gill (retd) through counsel Prateek Gupta, Justice Mahesh Grover and Justice Rajbir Sehrawat had asserted: “We make it clear that we are not accepting newspaper reports warranting resumption in the event of non-compliance of the notification for the reason that the notification itself is silent on the issue and we are not prepared to presume anything beyond that”. The order indicates that the UT Administration may find itself on a slippery ground legally in case it decides to initiate resumption proceedings for non-compliance.

Col Gill had claimed that the threat of plot resumption was without any reason, based on a notification, which was without any legal sanction or authority. “This clearly makes out criminal offences under Section 506 (criminal intimidation) or Section 506 read with Section 511 (attempting to commit offences punishable with imprisonment for life) of the IPC, against official/officials concerned of the UT Administration and the Chandigarh Renewable Energy and Science and Technology Promotion Society (CREST), who have issued such threats without complying with the principles of natural justice,” he had noted.

The Petition

Gill was seeking the quashing and setting aside the notification dated May 18, 2016, purported to have been issued by the Chief Administrator making installation of solar power panels mandatory. Claiming it was without any legal sanction or authority, Gupta on his behalf contended it was also illegal, arbitrary and in colourable exercise of power on the part of the then Chief Administrator. Directions have also been sought for staying its operation, implementation and effect during the pendency of the petition.

Eclipsing factors

Gupta has claimed that the Chandigarh Administration has no power or authority whatsoever under Section 4 of the Capital of Punjab (Development and Regulation) Act, 1952, to issue such a notification. Referring to the clause, he said its intent and purpose was proper planning or Chandigarh’s development. It did not provide for installation of SPV plants “as has been erroneously and surreptitiously done by respondents”.

Gupta added that the impugned notification, in the circumstances, had been issued in a totally perfunctory, casual and cavalier manner. Besides, it was issued without legislative competence, sanction or authority. Every administrative action or order has to be with legislative sanction. The Act does not confer any power on the Chief Administrator to make installation of SPV plant mandatory for any building in Chandigarh.

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