Mumbai: The Bombay High Court questioned the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Monday about its decision to grant permission to Shiv Sena (UBT) MLA Ravindra Waikar for constructing a luxury hotel in Jogeshwari, despite alleged suppression of information during the permission application process.
During the hearing of a petition by Waikar, in which he claimed that the permission was revoked without offering a show cause notice or a hearing, a division bench of Justices Sunil Shukre raised the inquiry. This move was seen as contradictory to the "principle of natural justice."
BMC's counsel Milind Sathe informed the high court that the civic body had promptly revoked the construction permission as soon as it became aware of the concealed information.
BMC: Petitioners acquired the permission in January 2021
The petition was submitted by Waikar, along with his wife Manisha Waikar and business partners Asoo Nihalani, Amardeep Singh Bindra, and Raj Lalchandani. Their legal representatives, senior advocate Aspi Chenoy and advocate Joel Carlos, argued that the BMC's decision was "arbitrary, illegal, and malafide." The petition pointed out that the civic body's justification for the cancellation, stating the Commencement Certificate (CC) had lapsed, was invalid as a CC doesn't require renewal.
In response, the municipal corporation filed an affidavit last week alleging that Waikar had withheld facts while applying for permission to construct the luxury hotel. The BMC stated that the permission was revoked through due process of law. The corporation also stated that a show cause notice was dispatched on February 8 of the current year.
According to BMC, the petitioners acquired the permission in January 2021 and received the commencement certificate on February 26, 2021, but had hidden the fact that the plot's reservation/designation, as per the 1991 Development Plan, had already been enforced in line with the policy at that time.
Development Plan 2034:
The Development Plan 2034 merely depicted the prevailing status, and the petitioner cannot assert the right to develop the reservation/designation as if it were being introduced for the first time, clarified the BMC. On June 15 of this year, the civic body revoked the permission, citing non-disclosure of prior development approvals and the lapse of the commencement certificate (CC).
A division bench comprising Justices Sunil Shukre and Rajesh Patil has reserved its decision on the petition.