Bombay High Court Directs KDMC To Demolish Illegal Structures & Implement Preventive Measures

Bombay High Court Directs KDMC To Demolish Illegal Structures & Implement Preventive Measures

HC directs authorities to make sure no more illegal construction takes place; asks Kalyan-Dombivali civic body and collector to complete survey in two months.

Urvi MahajaniUpdated: Thursday, January 25, 2024, 01:48 AM IST
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Representational Image | FPJ

Mumbai: The Kalyan Dombivali Municipal Corporation (KDMC) must not only demolish illegal structures and encroachments in its city limits but also take necessary steps to prevent it in future. The direction has been issued by a decision bench of Chief Justice DK Upadhyaya and Justice Arif Doctor of the Bombay High Court. As per a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Harishchandra Mhatre, over 1.65 illegal structures exist on lands owned by the KDMC and the state government.

Pursuant to the court’s directions on January 3, KDMC commissioner Indurani Jakhar and an officer from the collector’s office were present in the court. An affidavit was filed by the KDMC informing that 2,704 notices have been issued, 1,004 structures have been declared unauthorised and 2,967 structures have been demolished. As per the state’s affidavit, there are 272 unauthorised constructions on collector’s land.

Survey to take stock of all properties and delist illegal structures

The KDMC commissioner and the officer from the collector’s office said that they shall conduct a survey of the entire list of properties and identify the structures that are illegal and thereafter take action as per the Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act and the Maharashtra Regional Town Planning Act. It also proposed that, after assessment, it will start action on a priority basis.

“We direct all that’s needful shall be done by the corporation to take adequate and prompt steps so that no fresh unauthorised construction and encroachment shall come up,” the bench said.

The court has also directed the police to provide requisite protection to the employees of the corporation when it undertakes action against illegal structures, especially demolition. It has also asked the KDMC and the collector's office to approach the Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Ltd with request as regard to providing electricity to structures it deemed illegal.

“Both, the corporation and the state shall work in tandem with each other to find workable solutions so that the corporation is able to work effectively while removing encroachment and illegal construction,” the bench added.

Amount decided for razing illegal structures

After going through the KDMC affidavit, the bench asked whether ₹10 crore was required for removal of illegal structures. “We hope the number of illegal structures demolished are commensurate with this amount,” the CJ said.

The petitioner’s advocate Shriram Kulkarni said that the civic body and the state should erect a wall around its land so as to prevent further encroachment. “They are well equipped to protect their land. But because of inaction on part of authorities,” CJ added. The court questioned whether the authorities needed court orders to prevent encroachments on public lands. “Do you need a court order to protect your own land? Is it not your duty? Asked CJ.

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