Mumbai: Demolition notices issued to a transit building constructed in Mahim in 2006 have opened up a plethora of arguments on the issue, including whether they are subject to the Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act. The petition challenging the demolition notices has been filed by four residents.
In response, the Bombay High Court made the stance clear and observed that such buildings, by the very nature, are temporary and cannot be repaired or made permanent. The court said they are designed for short-term use and not meant to last beyond three to five years. “There is no question of repairs or of these buildings being made permanent,” the court said.
Court raps petitioners
The court rapped the petitioners for stalling the building’s demolition and consequently the redevelopment of the original structures on the land. It also emphasised that transit buildings cannot be subjected to the Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act which provides for structural audit and reference to Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) for dilapidated buildings.
A division bench of Justices Gautam Patel and Kamal Khata added, “Even the planning permissions that are granted for transit buildings are not granted in the same manner or subject to the same stringent requirements as they are for permanent constructions… The attempt to apply the law on the TAC in structural audits to transit buildings is not only an inversion of law but is a perversion of the law.”
The judges added, “We do not know what has happened to the people of this city that they no longer have the slightest concern about their own neighbours and others in their society. There are dozens of others who are out on transit rent or in transit accommodation and are forced to stay there indefinitely. Already, five years are lost, possibly for no fault of these tenants, but their continued obstruction only heaps on further delay.
The court noted that out of the original 103 occupants, only 18, including the four petitioners, remain in the transit building. Further, 63 were off-site in MHADA camps, 10 non-cessed tenants arranged private accommodations, and 12 non-cessed tenants shifted to alternate accommodations.
The court has set September 26 as the deadline for the complete evacuation of the building. Pursuant to HC order, developers’ advocate Ashish Kamat provided details of the other transit accommodation made available to the petitioners. Alternatively they can opt for transit rent. The HC will hear the matter later this week.
MHADA chawl in Mahim for 103 persons.
2006 Shifted to a transit building in a nearby area to undertake redevelopment of chawl.
2018 They approached the HC, alleging abrupt disconnection of water and electricity to the transit building.
BMC stated that the transit building was dilapidated and required demolition.
HC passed an interim order restoring electricity and water supply and allowing residents to continue occupying the premises at their own risk.
September 29, 2023 BMC filed an application in HC; it was revealed it was a transit building.
Court noted that it proceeded on misconception that the petitioners were owners.
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