In a breather to Campa Cola residents a day before the Supreme Court’s deadline to vacate their illegal flats, the apex court on Friday agreed to hear a plea by residents on June 3. The court has however, not stayed its earlier order to evict 40 owners of the 96 unauthorised flats by May 31 and the subsequent demolition of flats by the civic body.
A vacation bench of justices J S Khehar and C Nagappan decided to hear the plea of Campa Cola Residents Association that seeks a direction to the state government and Municipal Corporation of Greater Bombay to not demolish the illegal flats in the buildings till the apex court decides the petition.
“Though there is no technical stay granted by the SC, it has found merit in our case. It has, therefore, given us a second chance,” said advocate Himanshu Shekhar, who appeared for the Campa Cola Residents’ Association.
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However, the civic body said it could not extend the date on which the residents were to vacate the illegal flats. “We haven’t received a copy of the petition yet, but are on the watch and will be prepared for any hearing. We cannot extend the date, as the SC set a deadline to vacate flats by June 1. We have not yet discussed the matter with our legal team or decided on filing a contempt petition,” said Mohan Adtani, Additional Municipal Commissioner (City).
The residents have decided to continue their fight against the eviction ordered by the SC. No resident has surrendered the keys of their flats at the counter set up by the civic body at the G-South office on May 29, said A D Kusale, Assistant Engineer (Maintenance) of G-South ward office.
The BMC has given the residents time till June 2 to surrender their keys, failing which the civic body is likely to file a contempt petition against the residents in the SC.
“We approached a Delhi-based legal firm, who has studied all our documents in detail. We hope that the BMC will hold off the eviction till the SC hearing is over,” said Karan Sethia, a member of the Campa Cola Residents Welfare Association.
A large canvas with slogans and messages, allegedly written by politicians across parties, has been put up at the lobby of the Midtown Apartments, one of the buildings scheduled to be demolished. According to Sethia, none of the residents have started packing or looking for alternative accommodation.
“I bought the house in 1989. Since then, I have been paying all my taxes. All of a sudden in 2005, the BMC decides that my house is illegal. What were they doing all the years before that? Hopefully, the hearing on Tuesday will give us some justice,” said Sunanda Verma, one of the residents.