Bombay HC pulls up civic bodies, says ‘there is no will’

The Bombay High Court, whereas elevating considerations about unlawful constructions and constructing collapses inflicting lack of lives, stated on Wednesday that if municipal firms are usually not in position to take motion towards unauthorised constructions, “the situation will become quite difficult” in cities.

A division bench of Chief Justice (CJ) Dipankar Datta and Justice Girish S Kulkarni sought ward-wise information from eight municipal firms in Mumbai Metropolitan Region, together with BMC, pertaining to notices issued towards unauthorised constructions, steps taken towards them, variety of instances during which compensation was recovered and instances associated to unlawful constructions beneath litigation.

It additionally requested the state authorities to think about if separate tribunal will be shaped to expedite hearings on pending litigations associated to unlawful constructions.

The bench was listening to a suo motu public curiosity litigation it had initiated final September after the collapse of a constructing in Thane’s Bhiwandi, which claimed practically 40 lives.

Senior counsel Sharan Jagtiani, who was appointed by the HC as amicus curiae to help it with the case, stated that a number of firms, together with BMC, had not talked about the whole variety of unauthorised constructions and steps taken towards them of their replies.

“If corporations are not in a position of implementing the provisions of the statute, the situation is going to become quite difficult,” CJ Datta stated. The bench additionally noticed that almost all firms don’t appear proactive in taking motion towards unlawful constructions.

When CJ Datta inquired with BMC’s counsel why information about unlawful constructions was lacking in its affidavit, senior counsel Anil Sakhare stated that 40 per cent of town’s land is occupied by slums and precise figures pertaining to buildings that had unauthorised flooring is probably not accessible.

Justice Kulkarni referred to a Madras High Court order, which had informed authorities that until the time a unlawful structure is demolished, the individual placing it up could pay further tax. “So many measures can be taken. There is no will and what are they (corporations) waiting for? They do not know. We are heading for what God knows…,” he added.

“The pandemic has taught us many things. Does every person, including migrants, who come to work in Mumbai need to check if building/structure has permissions and is safe? Human life cannot be cheap,” Justice Kulkarni stated.

The bench the posted for additional listening to in March first week.


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