Bombay High Court Orders Demolition Of Illegally Constructed 4-Storey Building In Ghansoli

Bombay High Court Orders Demolition Of Illegally Constructed 4-Storey Building In Ghansoli

The high court, which asked the 23 occupants, who were represented by advocate RD Soni, to vacate the premises within six weeks.

Urvi MahajaniUpdated: Thursday, March 28, 2024, 10:12 AM IST
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Bombay High Court | File pic

An illegal construction can not be permitted to continue, the Bombay High Court said and directed the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) and the City and In- dustrial Development Corporation (CIDCO) to demolish a four-storey building in Ghan soli, Navi Mumbai, that was constructed without any per mission.

Interestingly, NMMC had demolished the building on four earlier occasions in 2020. The court termed it "a clear cut case of trespass" and observed that there is a distinction between illegality and irregularity.

The high court, which asked the 23 occupants, who were represented by advocate RD Soni, to vacate the premises within six weeks, directed the corporation to demolish the structure within two weeks thereafter, No civil court should entertain any plea from any of the parties seeking stay on the demolition, it said.

"This (Ghansoli building) is by no means the first case of this kind," the high court said, drawing similarities with the Supreme Court directing demolition of two fully constructed towers by Supertech Limited in Delhi. The problem is not "localised" and every municipal corporation faces this, it said, adding that the only difference is the "matter of degree".

The residential building has valid power and water connections

A petition filed in 2022 by one Monish Patil alleged that three members of a Patil family, in connivance with "developer" Ishwar Patel, constructed a building on a plot of land acquired by CIDCO from his ancestors. Considering the larger public interest, the high court converted it into a suo motu PIL in August 2023. Out of the 29 flats in the unauthorised residential building, Om Shanti Apartments, 23 are occupied, five are locked, and one is vacant. NMMC and CIDCO said they had not granted permission for the construction for the building, which had a valid power connection and for which water was being drawn illicitly. MSEDCL informed the court mere provision of power supply did not justify the legality of the construction.

Senior advocate Anil Anturkar, appearing for Sanjay Patil, Vishnu Patil and Sandesh Patil and developer Ishwar Patel, argued that when a civic body issues notice to alleged illegal construction, as per section 53(3) of the Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning Act, 1966, the recipient of the notice can seek regularisation of the structure. However, senior advocate Sharan Jagtiani, who was appointed as amicus curiae, countered that in that case, no one would seek development permission and wait for notices from civic bodies and then seek regularisation.

Regularisation proposition can not be accepted: HC

The high court noted that regularisation is not something that can be granted as a "matter of course". "It cannot be said, as a general rule, that... illegal construction must be regularised if FSI is available or can be generated in the form of TDR from other sources," a bench of Justices Gautam Patel and Kamla Khata said early this month. The detailed 79-page judgement copy was made available on Tuesday. The judges said that it is not possible to accept the proposition that constructions that wholly illegal can be regularised only by are levying a fine and charging high fees.

The high court has asked CIDCO and NMMC to urgently take up the matter of formulating a working policy and scheme to protect all their lands, which may include fencing, signboards or such other measures as may be appropriate. We cannot lose sight of the fact that all this" began because the Patils and Patel simply walked in and started construction. Had there been minimal protection, perhaps things might have unfolded differently," the bench said.

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