The Government Buildings Act, 1899

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The Government Buildings Act which was enacted on 3rd February, 1899 during the British time and it is called as the Government Buildings Act, 1899.  This extends to whole of India except the states that were comprised in Part B before 1st November 1956 this is explained under the Section 1 of the above mentioned Act.

This Act was framed to provide an exemption to certain buildings and lands that are government property from the operation of municipal building laws and which are situated within the bounds of the municipality. It was expedient for certain buildings and lands which are government property and which are situated within the bounds of a municipality are to be provided with some exemption from the operation of municipal building laws.

Section 2 of the Act clearly defines about the Municipal Authority. Here Municipal Authority means a municipal commissioner or a corporation established under the provisions of the laws that is prevailing in the country. Section 3 states that certain government buildings are exempted from municipal laws to regulate the construction of any building within the municipality. Any building that is a Government property or the building that is used for the public purpose shall not be under any enactment that is in force to regulate construction, erection, re-erection, maintenance of buildings or alteration within the bounds of any municipality. It further states that provided the construction, erection, re-erection or material structural alteration of any such building as aforementioned is not a defence building or anything connected to defence or building related to the Union territory of Pondicherry under the Act.  “Imperial” word was repealed by the A. O 1948.

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The objections or suggestions related to construction of any government buildings as to how it should be made or dealt within the limits of municipality are stated in the Section 4 of the Act. It also states about how the building are to be made. Any building stated in the above section can be inspected but it should not be a defence building or anything concerned to and/or ought to be treated as confidential in the opinion of government.  With the authorisation of state government, the municipal authority can inspect the land and building and all plans related to its construction, erection, re-erection but not under any condition or subject to any restrictions imposed by State government.  It also explains about the municipal authority who can submit a statement in writing of any objections or suggestions to the State Government which such municipal authority deems fit can make with reference to such erection, re-erection, construction.  This is explained under sub clause 1 of the Section 4 of the Act.

Under sub clause 2 of the Act it is explained that the State Government shall considered every objection or suggestion submitted as aforesaid after further investigation pass such orders as it shall think advisable in accordance with such orders the building shall be erected, re-erected, constructed or altered, as the case may be.  The State Government shall in writing give its reasons for overruling or disregarding any of such objection or suggestion.

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Although this legislation provides an effective framework of law it has its own flaws in it.  The Act does not clearly mention what is a defence building, or which buildings can be covered under the word defence building.  The Act does not state if an individual or a person can come under the definition of municipal authority. The Act also covers only the commissioner and corporation under the word municipal authority but not state any other authority. The Act does not clearly define the word building and land.  Whether the buildings stated in the Act comes under Central Government or State Government buildings is not also mentioned or explained in detail.  Our neighbouring country like Bangladesh also follow this Government Buildings Act, 1899.  But one difference in it is with regard to jurisdiction. That is it extends only to the whole of Bangladesh.