Despite the Supreme Court (SC) order Tuesday dismissing the plea of the illegal residents of Worli’s Campa Cola compound, who sought extension of the deadline or a stay on the demolition of the 96 illegal flats, they now intend to file a curative petition in the apex court.
Residents of illegal flats unwilling to follow the SC order and vacate the premises immediately are now contemplating seeking the legal opinion of newly-appointed Attorney General (AG) Mukul Rohatgi.
“We can still file a curative petition with the Supreme Court (SC) on the matter, so we are still keeping our hopes up. Moreover, Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar has assured us that the matter will be taken up in the cabinet,” said Nandini Mehta, member of the core committee of the Campa Cola Residents’ Welfare Association.
Before being appointed as the AG, Rohatgi served as the residents’ advocate when they secured an SC stay and extension on the eviction deadline for six months in November 2013.
“We are disillusioned by the SC hearing because we all had our hopes pinned on it. We will still request the state government, the attorney general and all political leaders to help us save our homes,” said resident Karan Sethia.
However, on Tuesday, Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan reiterated that the government would not interfere following the SC verdict. “All options possible have been examined,” Chavan said.
Meanwhile, fearing the safety of their homes in the event of the BMC starting the demolition process of the 35 illegal floors above the fifth floor of each of the seven buildings, residents of legal flats in the compound are now planning to approach the Bombay High Court (HC) for protection.
“We are talking about an administration that can’t even build proper roads here. How will they compensate us if our floors are damaged during the demolition?
They ought to give us either a performance or financial guarantee to ensure that residents from the first to fifth floors remain safe and unaffected in the process,” said resident Punit Shah from Orchid Apartments.
His mother Priti said, “The BMC has said that it will not touch the first five legal floors, but our buildings have common internal walls. We want the BMC and HC to address our concerns.”
These residents also want a surety from the BMC that their basic amenities, including electricity and gas supply, will not be damaged while disconnecting the lines of the 96 illegal flats.
Some residents of legal flats said they were even considering moving out of the compound, as they claim to be disillusioned by the turn of events in the last few months. “I fear for my security everyday. We are legal residents, but we live in the fear that our daily life will be affected. I have also been telling my family to consider shifting out of the compound and living a peaceful life elsewhere,” said Gauri Gandhi, a resident of Midtown Apartments.