New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed the petition of an NGO and its builder president suggesting a series of steps to curb influx of migrants in Mumbai putting serious strain on the civic amenities.
The NGO Janhit Manch and its president Bhagvanji Raiyani wanted the court to attack some of the policy decisions, particularly the floor space index (FSI) raised from 1 to 2 in the suburbs and the concept of the transferable development right, claiming that they promoted more migrants to settle down in the metropolis.
Its suggestions were, however, trashed by a 3-judge Bench, headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi with Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and K M Joseph as the two other judges, said the situation would be chaotic if the perspectives of individuals suprecede the policy formulation powers of the elected bodies.
It said expanding population has certainly aggravated the problem in metropolitan cities where the population moves for better livelihood and employment lacking in places of their home and the concerned authorities address it through various policy initiatives.
The Bench also noted that most of the petitioner’s concerns have been already addressed by the Bombay High Court in its judgment of 20.11.2006 under challenge. It said the state court is best equipped to look into local matters, especially where the area development and zoning regulations of the state or city are in question and noting that the High Court had already forced a mechanism in every ward for entertaining grievances of the citizens.
The Court also put on record what NGO president put forth what he thinks would be best for the city. His ideas included post approval impact assessment on environment of the 1991 Development Control Regulations (DCR) for Greater Bombay, wrong FSI incentives to land owners, no genuine endevour but just vote bank politics in providing alternative accommodation to slum dwellers, FSI increase leading to more influx of population in Mumbai, the Pradhan Mantri Avas Yojana Scheme providing “pucca ghar” to cause further influx and restrictions on the discretionary powers of the Municipal Commissioner, of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).
The petition had even sought a stoppage of the grant of Transferable Development Right (TDR) in three specified areas between the tracks of the Western Railway and the Swami Vivekanand Road, between the tracks of Western Railway and the Western Express Highway and between the tracks of the Central Railway (Main Line) and the Lal Bahadur Shastri Road.
Noting that TDR instead of money was the tool used by the municipal for acquiring lands for utilities, amenities, playgrounds, recreation grounds etc. as the land owner can sell it to a builder for construction elsewhere, the NMC opposed the prayer on the ground that it substantially brought down prices in the western suburbs since there was a boost in the housing sector, hurting the commercial interest of the builders. It pointed out that the NGO president was also one of these builders.