Bombay HC Stays Demolition Of Spindle Units Of Mafatlal Industries At Byculla

Bombay HC Stays Demolition Of Spindle Units Of Mafatlal Industries At Byculla

The state, the BMC and the developer have been restrained from razing the spindle unit building and from using any of its FSI.

FPJ News ServiceUpdated: Tuesday, April 02, 2024, 09:36 PM IST
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Bombay HC | File Image

Mumbai: Coming to the rescue of mill workers, the Bombay High Court has stayed demolition of recently constructed structure for 10,000 spindle units at the now defunct Mafatlal Mill in Byculla next to Veer Jijamata zoo. The state, the BMC and the developer have been restrained from razing the spindle unit building and from using any of its FSI.

A bench of Justices Gautam Patel and Kamal Khata quashed the Maharashtra government’s decision of 2019 to do away with the 2004 town planning condition. The judges noted that the 2004 DCR stipulated required construction of the spinning unit while allowing sale of the mill land.

The high court was hearing a petition by Mafatlal Industries challenging the government’s decision, which was allowed. The bench dismissed the petition by the developer Glider Buildcon Realtors.

The court expressed severe displeasure over the state and the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) for giving more weightage to profits to builders over the livelihood of erstwhile mill workers.

The HC noted that the arguments underline that the “corporate and commercial need of Glider, an entirely private real estate developer, must be allowed to override and prevail over the concerns of the labour unions and the provision of employment to erstwhile mill workers or members of their families”.

In Mumbai, more than in any other city in India, these social and economic disparities are already far too stark and far too much in conflict, the judges said. “These contradictions between extremes of poverty and wealth are literally smashed together here, cheek by jowl. We see daily how appalling these disparities are. We are being asked to add to these. We are being asked to do away with employment to erstwhile mill workers and their families,” the judges added.

The land owner, Mafatlal Industries had approached the HC in 2020 challenging the letter issued by the state in September 2019 asking it to dispense with a condition incorporated in 2004 to DCR 58. This permitted Mafatlal to sell 50% of the land and give the remaining to the adjoining Veer Jijamata zoo for free.

The only condition was that the developer construct a new spindle unit and hand it over to Mafatlal Industries to provide employment to the erstwhile mill workers’ families.

Mafatlal gave the development rights to Glider, which also constructed the spindle unit. However, Glider approached the urban development department seeking its closure, which was objected to by Mafatlal.

The BMC, on March 30, 2019, issued a partial occupancy certificate for the spindle unit. However, the government said on September 7, 2019, the spindle unit condition need not be implemented as workers had been paid. Glider approached the HC challenging a February 8 order of a monitoring committee asking it to hand over the spindle unit to Mafatlal.

Glider’s counsel Virag Tulzapurkar cited a BIFR scheme to justify its spindle closure plea. Whereas, Mafatlal’s counsel Rafiq Dada, submitted that mere letter from a UDD undersecretary cannot undo a DCR condition.

Workers’ unions supported Mafatlal's petition. Senior counsel Mihir Desai for Rashtriya Mill Mazdoor Sangh and Advocate Jane Cox for Girni Kamgar Sabha and Sarva Shramik Sanghatna said the amendment of 2004 by which the spindle unit was incorporated was a well thought town planning move to rehabilitate workers and could not be unravelled by instructions from a state department.

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