Law helps only the diligent, HC tells Bollywood actor Sonu Sood

Observing that law helps only those who are diligent, the Bombay High Court on Thursday dismissed the petitions filed by Bollywood actor Sonu Sood, seeking to quash the demolition notice issued by the BMC over the alleged illegal construction carried out by him at his residential building in suburban Juhu. The BMC has accused the actor of converting his six storey residential building into a commercial hotel.

A single-judge Bench of Justice Prithviraj Chavan even refused to stay his judgment for 10 weeks, as urged by Sonu's counsel Amogh Singh.

While refusing to stay his judgment pronounced on Thursday, Justice Chavan said, "The ball is now in the office of the BMC. You (Sonu) can approach the civic authorities."

"And you must know that you are too late (in approaching the HC) since you had ample time and opportunity. Law helps only those who are diligent," Justice Chavan observed.

A detailed copy of the judgment is yet to be made available.

The Bench was seized with a plea filed by Sonu challenging the demolition notice issued by the civic body in October last year.

During the arguments, Sonu through his counsel Singh had told the court that the BMC's notice was as 'vague' as possible as it didn't specify as to what exactly was illegally constructed or altered in contravention of the sanctioned plan.

"As far as the mandatory clearances from MCZMA are concerned, it is our case that due to the pandemic the authority did not conduct any hearing and thus the same is delayed. The allegation that the revenue records of the property in question do not reflect my name, it must be noted that the very property has been mortgaged with Standard Chartered Bank. How would have the bank sanctioned loan without checking the property's title?" Singh had argued.

In his brief submissions, Singh had highlighted the fact that his client used the structure for various 'social purposes' one of which "was the fact that the building was given to the policemen to stay in during the lockdown period," the counsel had emphasised.

Per contra, senior counsel Sakhre for BMC told the court that the actor is a 'habitual offender' for illegal construction. He pointed out that parts of the same structure were demolished twice earlier owing to the 'blatant illegalities.'

"The petitioner (Sood) has not come with clean hands before this court. He has suppressed the fact that demolition was carried out twice by the BMC for the blatant alterations in the property in contravention to the sanctioned plan. He carried out the illegal construction under the garb of beautification of the rooms," Sakhre had pointed out.

"Thus, he cannot be allowed to run a hotel from a residential building only for commercial purposes. His plea must not be considered and be dismissed at the outset," the counsel had argued.

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