SC: Chennai has become Unlivable

The Supreme court up held Madras High courts ruling calling for the demolition of unauthorised buildings. This in effect means that 32,000 unauthorised constructions will be demolished. The court has gone a step further and ruled all regularisation schemes are illegal, therefore all the unauthorised constructions which were regularised will now have to be demolished and Rs 800 crore collected as regularisation fees now will have to be returned.

The problem is not with the ruling, but with a statement made by the Court

“The whole city of Chennai is now unlivable because you allowed unauthorised constructions to flourish in violation of all building Laws. Let the people live in peace. Let there be some discipline.”


The Supreme Court has said Chennai is unlivable because unauthorised constructions exist. it is one thing to call for discipline and laws to be followed, and another to condemn a city as inhospitable because one law is flouted. I’d like to know on what basis the Court has called the city inhospitable, whether it looked at other factors, illegal construction is just one of the many issues. If the court considered only at unauthorised constructions, then maybe it has jumped the gun and called Chennai unlivable.

Whether a city is hospitable or not is determined by a multiplicity of factors, with different weights assigned to each of them. Compliance with laws is just one of them, and I’m sure in India, where rules are seldom followed it will not be assigned the maximum weight.

19 Comments so far

  1. Govar (unregistered) on November 27th, 2006 @ 2:18 pm

    I don’t see any reason why we should be fed up with this statement. The genuine intent of the statements seems to be conveying the fact the current laws are retrograde… and that it would lead to a scenario similar to that of Bombay.

    I’m actually glad that someone high up noticed it and took some strong decisions before the situation actually became grave.

  2. vatsan (unregistered) on November 27th, 2006 @ 3:08 pm

    @ govar,
    the court clamping down on unathrosed constructions is one thing, which needs to be appreciated. But then SC stating chennai is unlivable because of unauthorised constructions is something I find hard to accept.

  3. david appasamy (unregistered) on November 27th, 2006 @ 9:06 pm

    Vatsan, I think the point being made by the judges is that the quality of life, that might otherwise have been possible, has been seriously impaired. I don’t think its necessary to take exception to the statement at face value. Its meant for the good of the city after all.

  4. vatsan (unregistered) on November 27th, 2006 @ 9:16 pm

    unauthorised buildings do reduce the quality of life. But can the court make conclusions regarding the general quality of life in Chennai based on the buildings? I doubt it can, and under such circumstances, the court should think twice before making such statements. The court cannot make blanket statements based on insufficient data.

    david the point is not whether it results in good or not. What ticked me off is the court has passed a general judgment on the city without sufficient data, which clearly could have been avoided. The good you mention would still have been achieved. This judgement on chennai is not the main focus of the judgement.

  5. sj (unregistered) on November 28th, 2006 @ 4:51 am

    Well Vatsan, as I said before Chennai is a city that is lawless from building construction to road rules, now the SC has stated this publicily.
    I agree Chennai has become unliveable due to all these factors and more the people of Chennai need a stern lesson in discipline and following rules as they still are unable to grasp the concept. That is why there is water problems as the public and anti social elements have drained all lakes and cut down trees etc and dumped waste into waterways that has lead to all this.
    This sums up Chennai a city that has existed with no law and order for many years.

  6. annoynomas (unregistered) on November 28th, 2006 @ 7:19 am

    Watch Chennai turn into the “New and Improved”

    Watch for our friends install statues of Periyar, Ambedkar, Kannagi, ParaSakthi, Jesus, ObL,
    Sivaji and not to miss Tamil liberator in places
    which violate the norms, zones whatever, declare it as places of worship, cultural center for dravidian glory, Tamil protectorate and pass
    a law which absolves, waives, ignores what is declared by the Supreme upholder of rule of law
    as violation.

    I have no doubt the current MLAs, MPs will make this possible by passing a new Law to make the MuKaPoohar livable.

    Ofcourse 69% plus creamy layer exemption for those
    IT pimps, Billboard company owners will apply. If you happen to be the forunate 31% who built 2nd floor western bathroom in T.P.Koil street, Perumal Koil street by obtaining the permit brace yourselves, the bulldozer is coming.

    After the dust settles, the minister of stamps will release several versions of Rs/-1 stamps of before MuKaPoohar, Chennai that is for memories

  7. bejharboy (unregistered) on November 28th, 2006 @ 8:42 am

    Re 1/- stamp – ANd that too released by Sonia Gandhi, with Dayanidhi Moron with his bunny laughter!!!

  8. sarav (unregistered) on November 28th, 2006 @ 10:37 am

    I am thinking why vatsan is trying to make an issue out of this… probably he owns a few of the 32,000 mentioned buildings…

    c’mon vatsan look into the main issue.. it has also said “Let there be some discipline” hope the SC starts implementing this next

  9. vatsan (unregistered) on November 28th, 2006 @ 11:22 am

    i donot own a single building in chennai, im not that rich yet. the only rules i break are meant to be broken, read traffic rules, the SC has turned a blind eye to them

  10. Manikandan (unregistered) on November 28th, 2006 @ 12:55 pm

    Yes Chennai has become Unlivable Not only because of illegal constructions.. Also very poor infrastructure facilities.. All the illegal constructions should be remove immediately…First set pedestrian path on all the roads instead of allowing to open shops on that…One of the worst management of road in the country is Chennai…

  11. sarav (unregistered) on November 28th, 2006 @ 3:00 pm


    //i donot own a single building in chennai//

    If you are not one of the fouting ones, then pls undersand the SC is doing this for benefit of chennaiites..
    The SC is not certifying that the other cities are great places for living. it is doing it is Delhi and hopefully will do it in other places also

    // the only rules i break are meant to be broken//

    Provide details, otherwise this is easily misunderstood.

  12. vatsan (unregistered) on November 28th, 2006 @ 3:03 pm


    the Sc has made the ruling for the good of chennai, as id replied to david, they need not have said chennai has become unlivable, on what basis has SC passed that judgement?

    and im my earlier reply ive mentioned what rules i break :P read it again

  13. anony (unregistered) on November 28th, 2006 @ 3:10 pm

    Yes, chennai is becoming unlivable in other ways too. I.e., it is livable only for the so-called IT guys and also real estate agents or brokers. The IT guys goes on to buy lands and apartments as if gulping everything that comes their way since they have lots of money as if a cow goes on the eat everything and anything that comes their way and the brokers uses this opportunity to raise the rates of lands and houses on their own and make loads of money and becoming millionaires without any effort at all. Yes, these are the two guys who are responsible for these enormous rate raise in real estate.

  14. anony (unregistered) on November 28th, 2006 @ 3:12 pm

    and making chennai unlivable for others!!

  15. Govar (unregistered) on November 29th, 2006 @ 12:19 am

    @Anonymous: D00d, everything is fine with your comment except the words ‘As cow goes on eat everything’. Wonder what you would’ve done if you were one of the IT guys that you mentioned. Give the earn you earn to charity? Donate to the poor?

    Mind not being anonymous next time around?

  16. sj (unregistered) on November 29th, 2006 @ 5:35 am

    All of the comments made here just show me how frustrated many residents of the city are and this will only continue to worsen if regulations are not enforced. If business owners such as Chennai silks have managed to build an illegal building this just shows the level of indiscipline Chennai suffers. Even though the Chennai silks building is being demolished which is a good thing but there must me many many other illegal structures across the city why aren’t the illegal traders who encroach on footpaths across the city now closed down and there structures demolished. There are just some of the problems Chennai has the list goes on an on that is why it is unliveable.

  17. shek (unregistered) on November 29th, 2006 @ 10:02 am

    What exactly does “multiplicity of factors” mean?You have quoted only one of those “factors”.And constructions do hamper the way of living and T.Nagar is a fitting example.Does Chennai have roads as wide as those in Delhi?

  18. Manimaran (unregistered) on November 30th, 2006 @ 4:06 am

    T.Nagar – Pondy Bazaar to T.Nagar bus terminus through Panagal park.. This whole area is full of illegal constructions throwing every rulebook out of the window.. Maybe the HC/SC had this in mind when the passed this judgement, so that the rules are followed and basic things like building/zoning rules, Master plans are followed to avoid nightmares..

    No one is happy to hear the demolition of Chennai Silks/Saravana Gold/Pothy’s.. But all of them have built 3-4 floors beyond approved plan and none of them have a parking lot even for a cycle..

    Guys, we can’t walk freely on this strecth during peak hours.. Poor PTC bus drivers and car owners and two wheel drivers.. Every inch is a torture and it takes forever to cross this strecth.. If he comes out of this strecth without a scratch on the vechile, then he can drive on any road in the world..This stretch is “The Most Toughest driving test for any Driver”..

    I say this because, I have lived for 38 years near T.Nagar bus terminus. I have seen T.Nagar roads grow from few buses and cars on the road to present day nightmare situation where one avoids this stretch like plague..

    Why..? “No Planning”

  19. sj (unregistered) on November 30th, 2006 @ 5:05 am

    Pothy’s is also going to be demolished wow I didn’t know they built an illegal building this just shows how deep the adminsitration and authority of Chennai incompetancy goes what will be next Nallis must be illegal also then. I think that all business in T.Nagar need to be checked to see if they are legal the place is a mess.

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