Supreme Court stays demolition of structure of 50-year-old restaurant in Mumbai

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered status quo on the demolition of an allegedly illegal structure constructed in a 50-year-old restaurant situated in a posh locality of Mumbai. The top court directed the trial court to decide the civil suit expeditiously, strictly on the basis of evidence adduced by the parties.

A bench of Justices A M Sapre and Indu Malhotra said that it is not expressing any opinion on the merits and demerits of the controversy which is the subject matter of the civil dispute pending before the trial court. “We direct the concerned trial judge to ensure expeditious disposal of the civil suit filed by the petitioners against the respondents strictly on the basis of the evidence adduced by the parties in the suit,” it said.

The bench, while disposing of the appeal filed by the Rasraj restaurant said, “In the meantime, the status quo in respect of the suit property shall be maintained by the parties.” It said that none of the observations made by the trial court, the High Court and this Court should influence the trial judge while deciding the suit.

During the hearing, senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, advocates Kunal Vajani and Sumeer Sodhi contended that the municipal corporation before the trial court had submitted that demolition notice was issued on the basis of incorrect facts. Rohatgi said that it’s a 50-year-old structure and if that is demolished, the civil suit pending before the trial court would become infructuous.

The bench said it will ask the trial court to first decide the suit. The five-decade-old restaurant located at Ville Parle (West), Mumbai had challenged the Bombay High Court order of September 28, by which demolition of the structure of the property was allowed.

The dispute relates to the shed structure of the Restaurant which belonged to the ground floor of the building.  The Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai, in 2014, had issued a demolition order against Rasraj Restaurant for the shed, calling it illegal and unauthorized.

The owners of the restaurant had filed a civil suit against the demolition order of the civic body in the trial court and also moved an application seeking interim stay of the demolition proceedings.  The trial court, dismissed the plea of owners for interim stay on demolition after which the order was challenged before the Bombay High Court.

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