Mumbai: Bombay HC asks BMC to reply to plea alleging it tweaked FSI definition in DCR

Singh, jointly filed the PIL in October 2021 along with advocate Abha Singh through advocate Aditya Pratap , pointing out the tweaked definition of FSI as contained in the DCR and sought that the same be declared as null and void.

Staff ReporterUpdated: Tuesday, July 26, 2022, 08:25 PM IST
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The Bombay High Court has directed the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to file reply affidavit to a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by advocate turned Indian Police Service (IPS) Isha Singh challenging the tweaking of FSI definition in the Development Control Regulation (DCR) which makes it possible to demolish 2 floor buildings in Mumbai and replace them with buildings of around 30 floors.

Singh, jointly filed the PIL in October 2021 along with advocate Abha Singh through advocate Aditya Pratap , pointing out the tweaked definition of FSI as contained in the DCR and sought that the same be declared as null and void.

A division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and justice MS Karnik, on July 25, directed the BMC to file its reply observing: “Upon hearing Mr. Pratap, learned advocate for the petitioners, it prima facie appears to us that there is some substance in the contention raised in the PIL petition. We would necessarily be tasked to decide whether the stream can rise above its source.”

The fundamental point of the Petition was that the Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning Act, 1966, which is an Act of the State Legislature, defines FSI as the total area on all floors divided by area of the plot. However, the DCR prepared by the subordinate officers, defines FSI differently, where Built-up Areas exempted from FSI are not counted in the FSI.

The PIL highlights the severe violation of Maharashtra Town Planning Regulations and National Building Code of India.

“By such unauthorised tweaking of the FSI Definition, the State had infringed the right to Life under Article 21 of the Constitution of India. The massive areas exempted from FSI Calculation are legally untenable and impermissible. Builders disproportionately enhance the Non-FSI areas resulting in super tall Skyscrapers that compromise open space, garden and fire safety norms,” said advocate Aditya Pratap.

Legally no subordinate officers can change legal definition of FSI as has been mandated in the Act of a State Legislature which states that every Built-up Area has to be counted in the FSI.

It is because of such change in the definition of the FSI, that in Mumbai, in small plots massive buildings are being constructed. It is for this reason that where there were 2 floor buildings, they are being demolished and replaced by multi stories towers rising above the height of 30 floors. The changes in definition of FSI had not been done such high rises could not be constructed.

“It is because of such conflict in the legal definition of FSI as defined in the Act of the State Legislature vis-a-vis the Regulations prepared by subordinate officers, that it has become possible to demolish 2 floor buildings in Mumbai and to replace them with towers of 30 floors,” added advocate Aditya Pratap.

The HC asked BMC to file reply by August 11 and asked petitioners to file additional affidavit by August 17, the next date of hearing.

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