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In a major relief to the property owners, the Supreme Court in an interim order allowed construction of the third floor on the houses in the residential colonies in the Capital. Such order shall be subject to its final decision on the validity of the Master Plan for Delhi 2021, said the apex court.

A bench comprising justices Arijit Pasayat, CK Thakker and LS Panta ordered that such relief would be available to house owners who will "fulfil" the requirements as laid down in the MPD relating to a building's height and floor area ratio (FAR).

The court, however, said that neither the owners nor the persons to whom the property would be sold or transferred after the construction could claim equity if the verdict goes against them and "demolition" is ordered.

While directing that additional floors could be constructed provided the height of the building does not exceed the maximum limit of 15 metres as specified by MPD, the Bench also modified the provisions relating to the maximum number of dwelling units that can be built in different categories of plots.

It said the category of plot in which the MPD 2021 permitted six dwelling units would be reduced to five and where the maximum number was fixed at nine, it would be now seven. Similarly, in the category where the maximum sanctioned number of dwelling units is 10, the new limit would be eight, the court ordered.

The court, however, made it clear that the interim relief would not be extended to commercial and industrial areas. It sorted out some confusion on the issue of additional floor.

Earlier in September 2006, the Centre had come out with the notification which had said that any additional floor above the permissible limit should not be considered as a dwelling unit. The court on May 7 last had restrained the Municipal Corporation of Delhi forming allowing such sanction but on July 23, 2007 it had clarified that its order would prohibit any new construction in which the application was made after May 7.

The construction of additional floor was opposed by some petitioner and even advocate Ranjit Kumar, who is assisting the court as amicus curaie in the matter, had raised question as to how the civic authorities intend to provide the necessary infrastructure for meeting the requirements of the ambitious plan. The court said all these issues will be discussed when the matter will come up for hearing in July.

Later, when it was pointed out that MCD has been unable to deseal the premises as ordered by the apex court as the monitoring committee was asking the owners to pay the "misusers" charge for the period when they had not followed the court order, the Bench said it could be decided at the later stage.

For getting the premises desealed, those alleged misusers can file an affidavit giving an undertaking that they will abide by the order on payment of such charge it was found that it was liable on them, the court said.

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