Bombay HC Denies Stay On VVCMC Demolition Notices, Sets Eviction Deadline For Illegal Buildings

Bombay HC Denies Stay On VVCMC Demolition Notices, Sets Eviction Deadline For Illegal Buildings

Observing that a plot meant for sewerage treatment plant (STP) and a dumping ground are essential and cannot be allowed to be usurped, the Bombay High Court has refused to entertain an application by occupants of 41 “illegal and unauthorized” buildings which sought stay on demolition notices issued by Vasai Virar City Municipal Corporation (VVCMC).

Urvi MahajaniUpdated: Monday, July 08, 2024, 10:40 PM IST
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Bombay High Court | PTI

Mumbai: Observing that a plot meant for sewerage treatment plant (STP) and a dumping ground are essential and cannot be allowed to be usurped, the Bombay High Court has refused to entertain an application by occupants of 41 “illegal and unauthorized” buildings which sought stay on demolition notices issued by Vasai Virar City Municipal Corporation (VVCMC).

The high court noted that the occupants having entered into an agreement with the developers is not a “good ground” to protect structures which are “wholly illegal and put up where they never should have come up”. The court has, however, granted the flat owners of the buildings time till September 30 to vacate the premises subject to them submitting an undertaking within a month that they would vacate the same.

The HC, in January, had directed VVCMC to take action against illegal structures in its city limits while hearing a petition seeking action against such illegalities. The civic body informed the court that it has demolished a few of the structures and had issued demolition notice to 41 other buildings directing the occupants to vacate the same within 24 hours.

A plea was filed by 15 flat owners, through their advocate Ajay Jaiswal challenging the demolition notice issued by the civic body. Jaiswal submitted that there were 41 buildings housing over 5,000 families.

The court, however, remarked that the applicants have not been able to show that the buildings they occupy were constructed after securing permission from authorities. “Admittedly the buildings were built on site reserved for STP and a dumping ground. A STP and dumping ground are essential and such land cannot be usurped by any party for it would be detrimental to the Interest of other parties,” a bench of Justices MS Sonak and Kamal Khata said.

The court further added that the flat owners may have been cheated by developers / builders, for which they can sue the respective developers for recovery of damages. “Intervenors (15 applicants) may have entered into agreements with developers, is not a good Ground to protect structures which are wholly illegal and put up where they never should have come up,” the bench added.

The judges lambasted the civic bloody for failing to take timely action against illegal constructions since several years and allowing for such illegal structures to come up in the first place.

VVCMC advocate Swati Sagwekar contended that the constructions had come up when the land was under the CIDCO. When the original petitioners advocate Uday Warunjikar said that the petition be kept pending to ensure that action is taken against civic officials, Sagwekar said that CIDCO should also be made a respondent.

Irked, the judges said that it was the last thing a civic body should says since all are “state authorities”. “If you encourage these things, whether by a private party or someone else, you are encouraging land mafia. Poor people are getting completely ruined in this,” the bench said.

Considering the monsoon period, the HC restrained VVCMC from acting on its demolition notice orders till September 30. The flat owners have been asked to submit undertaking within a month to the civic body that they would vacate the premises by September 30.

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