Recently Madras High Court banning the registration of plots and houses in unapproved housing layouts as well as the conversion of agricultural land for non-agricultural use in an unplanned manner across Tamil Nadu.

In Tamil Nadu, It has been customary to call unapproved plots as Panchayat approved layouts.  It doesn’t mean It is an approved layout by just getting a gift deed registered in the name of the panchayat, surrendering common areas earmarked for roads, parks.  Village panchayat presidents do not have the power to sanction plot layouts.

Rule 3 of Tamil Nadu Panchayat Building Rules 1997 states that “No owner or other persons shall layout a street, lane, passage or pathway or subdivide or utilise the land or any portion or portions of the same on the site or sites for building purposes until a layout plan has been approved by the Executive Authority who shall get prior concurrence of the Director of Town and Country Planning or his authorised Joint Director or Deputy Director of Town and Country Planning for such approval”.

DTCP Circular No.9862/10BA1 dated 14.06.2010 clearly mentions that Once a Layout is approved by Town and Country Planning authorities (such as DTCP) / nodal planning authorities (such as CMDA), Panchayat may have the ability to approve building plan subject to certain regulations. However, Panchayat can never approve a layout plan.

Now if a buyer has purchased the so-called “Panchayat approved land” a.k.a unapproved plot,  the only way out is to sell it out to another buyer willing to buy unapproved plots or to get the approval. In most cases, approval can be obtained if regularization schemes are introduced by the state government.

However, the areas marked for infrastructure projects or marked under special categories such as archaeological sites, heritage and monument zones, civil defense and aviation zones, and hill and coastal areas never get approval under this scheme.