Observing that the State and the authorities concerned should have powers to take action against illegal structures and undertake demolition, the Bombay High Court has said it wants to send out a message that such rampant illegal constructions will not be allowed to happen “in its watch”.
A division bench of Justices Gautam Patel and Kamal Khata also said that such people who construct illegal structures have an attitude “that ‘kuch nahi hoga’. We have to change it to ‘kuch to hoga’.”
“Find a legitimate way to end this”
The bench has asked the government to inform whether there was any solution to such unauthorised development and said it wants to “find a legitimate way to end this”.
The court had last month taken suo motu (on its own) cognisance of the issue of an unauthorised four-storeyed residential building in Ghansoli in Navi Mumbai. Out of the 29 flats in the Om Sai apartments, 23 are occupied, five are locked while one is vacant.
Justice Patel said these 23 people were persuaded to buy these flats saying "kuch nahi hoga" (nothing will happen), adding that "now, we will change it...'kuch toh hoga'.
Photo accessed by FPJ
The court underlined that the gravity of the situation is such that the building had acquired electricity and water connection illegally.
Justice Patel remarked that this was happening due to intervention of courts, where builders get a stay from local courts against action by authorities.
“This needs to stop. We believe we must act without any further delay. I want to send out a message that we won't let it happen in our watch. We will not permit this on our watch. Much of such things have happened because of courts,” Justice Patel underscored.
He added: “We have to ask ourselves some hard questions. Every time it is said people come to court and obtain stay. I am now addressing the subtext. Look at this (Navi Mumbai building) case. It is so utterly gross.”
Court asks govt to find solution
Asking the government to find a solution, the judges said: “We cannot contemplate a situation where the government is powerless to stop such rampant unauthorised structures.”
The bench said this building was a class in itself since the entire building was illegal.
“An entire structure which is illegal from top to bottom needs to be dealt with as a class of its own. We are not talking about some illegal construction in an already existing building and regularisation of the same. We are talking about an entire building being illegal,” Justice Patel said.
The judges have directed the court receiver to take possession of the four-storeyed building and the land on which it stands. The court has also issued notice to the developer and the 23 occupants of the building, while directing them not to create third party rights in their premises. The bench has kept the matter for hearing on October 4.