No illegal structure on government land can be regularised: Bombay High Court

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Thursday said that no illegal construction on government land can be regularised. This comes after the HC started dictating its judgment over the bunch of petitions pertaining to the nuisance of illegal constructions across the state. The HC pointed several anomalies in the Maharashtra government’s policy pertaining to regularisation of illegal constructions.

The judgment is being dictated by a division bench presided over by Justice Abhay Oka and Justice Anuja Prabhudesai that has heard several Public Interest Litigations (PILs) highlighting the issue of illegal construction in Maharashtra and especially in Navi Mumbai’s Digha village. The bench struck the clause of the draft policy that provided regularisation of illegal constructions in prohibited areas after obtaining a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from competent authority. “This clause is completely contrary to the provisions of Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning (MRTP) Act,” the bench said.

“Another clause states unauthorised construction on reserved plots can only be regularised if reservation is deleted or shifted by the government. This suggests the government will have to indulge in shifting of reservation only to regularise an illegal structure,” Justice Oka said.

The bench noted that the draft policy states that NOC can be issued to regularise illegal structure on government land after it is transferred. The bench said, “The Supreme Court has time and again said that no government land can be transferred unless a fair and transparent procedure is followed. It is well settled in law, that no procedure is transparent unless public is informed about the transfer or allotment of land.”

The bench trashed clause 5 of the draft policy that provides opportunity to owners of illegal structures on government land to get their construction regularised. “It would be pertinent to mention there is no provision in law to regularise illegal construction erected on public land. This is also not permissible under Article 14 of Constitution,” Justice Oka said.

The bench is likely to continue dictation of this judgment on Friday.

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