Put your house in order or outsource municipal governance: HC to BMC

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Wednesday pulled up the BMC for its failure to act against illegal encroachments on roads and pavements, saying the Mumbai civic body needs to put its house in order or outsource the municipal governance.

The remarks were made by a division bench of justices SC Dharmadhikari and RI Chagla which was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) on the issue of illegal structures on pavements in suburban Andheri.

The bench noted that despite repeated orders, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) failed to initiate action or ensure that those structures do not crop up again.

"The corporation needs to put its house in order or outsource the whole municipal governance... that will be the best thing to do," the judges said.

While the BMC has been claiming that it demolished all the illegal encroachments and structures, petitioner S G P Barnes said the temporary structures have come up again.

"We fail to understand how the municipal corporation has not been able to deal with this menace. Because of the civic body's failure to address these issues and other complaints raised by the public, people are forced to approach courts seeking orders," the bench said.

"The BMC does not do its job forcing people to approach courts. The high court has been reduced to a ward office," Justice Dharmadhikari said.

The bench said such temporary structures are built on pavements and roads with the help of local mafia and municipal officials. "The BMC turns a blind eye due to which it has now become impossible to even walk on footpaths and pavements," it said.

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