Clearing the decks for the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to evict residents of “dangerous and dilapidated” buildings within a week of issuing notice, the Bombay High Court Monday issued guidelines for classification of dilapidated buildings, eviction, demolition and rehabilitation of occupants of such buildings.
The BMC had filed a petition underlining difficulties it faced in implementation of notices issued under section 354 of the Mumbai Municipal Corporation (MMC) Act, under which the corporation can evict occupants of a dilapidated building and demolish the precarious structure.
The petition was with regard to buildings in the C-1 category that refers to highly dangerous and dilapidated buildings. In Mumbai, there are presently 1,236 C-1 category buildings, of which 828 are privately-owned.
“In view of the fact that in many of such buildings, the tenants and/or occupiers are residing and/or unwilling to vacate the premises in spite of the fact that the building is dilapidated and dangerous and likely to fall, which would cause loss of human life including that of the persons who are refusing to vacate therefrom and/or because of the inaction on the part of the owners, it has become necessary to pass the present order,” Justices Anoop V Mohta and A A Sayed wrote in their 17-page order.
The High Court’s go-ahead to the BMC’s guidelines will enable the corporation to evict the occupants of a C-1 category buildings, including state and corporation-owned as well as privately-owned, within seven days of issuing a notice under section 354. If occupants refuse to vacate the premises, the corporation can ask the police to evict them using “nominal force”.
“The police may use such force as is reasonably necessary to remove such person and/or occupiers and/or allottee along with their belongings from the said premises, without causing damage to their movables,” the guidelines read.
“This order is necessitated essentially to make section 354 effective and to see that human lives are not in any manner compromised,” the court observed.
The BMC had contended that “in the absence of any specific provisions in the MMC Act for removal or evacuation of occupants of dilapidated buildings, and to make it effective and workable considering the human problems,” it was necessary to issue certain guidelines. The guidelines, approved by the state government, were submitted to the court on June 20.
BMC will independently inspect buildings before labelling them C-1
If found highly dangerous, BMC will give seven days to occupants to vacate
BMC can then disconnect water, gas and power supply to the building
If occupants refuse to vacate the building, BMC can use police force
After their eviction, BMC can then demolish the building