Justice with compassion
Probably seeing the dilemma faced by the Chief Minister of Maharashtra to bail out the Campa Cola residents in the wake of the Apex Court’s earlier order and the various strictures attached thereto, the SC must have decided to take suo moto cognisance of the plight of the residents and intervened to give them time until May 31, 2014. Also, probably for the first time, all political parties visited the site to extend moral support to the fighting residents.
It was timely of Senior Counsel Fali Nariman to draw the attention of the Apex Court, which carried weight. Justice with compassion is important.
Now, it is the task of the government and the local authorities to be vigilant against illegal constructions; and it will be prudent, if they start publishing the names of developers and their constructions in all the newspapers and on TV channels, warning people of the illegality, so that a similar situation does not occur again.
Kedarrnath Rajah Aiyar

Questions for the BMC
The unauthorised construction and now the impending demolition of the Campa Cola flats are all manmade agony for the residents. The BMC cannot wash its hands of the whole situation, as any construction undertaken by a builder requires the former’s permission. The main culprits are BMC engineers who allowed the construction. If the BMC has to demolish the structure, why did it permit construction in the first place? Who was the civic engineer responsible for the construction of these illegal structures? Anyone will agree that today, it is not possible for one to buy a flat unless one exhausts one’s entire life savings. The BMC has a lot to answer for in this case. It is said that there is no legal impediment to the government issuing an ordinance. This will set a downright bad precedent as, in future, whenever there is an illegal construction, there will be a mad scramble for an ordinance. We all know, this is not the first, nor will it be the last illegal construction.
S S Nair

BMC has a lot to answer for
We all know that Campa Cola residents have invested their life savings into their flats. When the BMC collected property taxes from the residents all these years , it has no right, moral or legal, to demolish these flats. The Supreme Court must penalise both the builders and the BMC, rather than demolish the flats and throw innocent residents out on the streets.
K V Satyamurty

SC to the rescue
It is gratifying to learn that the Supreme Court
has stayed the demolition of the illegal Camap Cola flats until May 2014. But one wonders where the powers-that-be were when such illegal structures were erected property taxes on these too were collected. The law should not tolerate illegalities, but the builders and politicians, including the bureaucrats who received bribes to allow such structures should be punished, rather than the residents, who spent all their hard-earned money towards these flats.
If illegal slums can be regularised, then why not the disputed Campa Cola flats? Yes, it would set an unfortunate precedent. It is time to get crackdown on the builder-politician nexus and eradicate the problem at the root, so that no illegal structures ever come up. The losses and cost of regularising such structures should be recovered from the responsible parties, not the buyers, who obtain loans or expend their life savings to buy property.
S N Kabra

What about Maya’s ‘super’ bungalow?
It is gratifying to note that the Supreme Court has taken suo moto notice of the public outcry on the agitation in Mumbai where innocent flatowners were facing eviction and has stayed the demolition till May 2014.The builder-politician nexus has gone on unchecked and it is the innocent public that suffers. That this demolition was being undertaken even as blatant executive abuse of an allotment of three Type VIII bungalows in a row to Mayawati was highlighted by the media shows the misplaced sense of justice and fair play. It is hoped the Apex Court will similarly take suo moto notice of this abuse done by the UPA apparently as a quid pro quo, to keep the BSP supremo in a supportive mood.
V N Ramachandran

Fifty-fifty option, please
For the second season of ‘Kon Hoeel Marathi Crorepati,’ (KHMC), 65 per cent of the total seats are reserved for the female aspirants, leaving only 35 per cent for men. This clearly goes against the commonly accepted principle of gender equality in fields of opportunity. The organisers of the programme would do well to remove this gross injustice and restore the ratio to 50:50 as is done for the Hindi version of the game show, viz., Kaun Banega Crorepati (KBC).
Vineet Phadtare

Heartening news from Chhattisgarh
The huge turnout for the first phase of the Chhattisgarh polls should send strong signals to Maoists that violence never pays in a democracy. That as many as 18 constituencies in the Bastar and Rajnandgaon divisions recorded a high voter turnout is heartening. This indicates that the people are yearning to be active members of a vibrant society and are not content with being mere onlookers. That the tribal-dominated areas ignored the Maoist threat to a great extent augurs well for the peace and stability of the state, with the recent political killings of top Congress leaders still fresh in the mind. This eagerness to be seen as citizens exercising their rights would not have been possible without the unprecedented security provided to the people.
The Election Commission, the state government, and the centre have worked in tandem to bring the Maoist affected areas back to the mainstream society. Only when an equal, if not more percentage of voting is witnessed in tribal-dominated areas without heavy security, can we say that people have really come out of their shell.
Ganapathi Bhat

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