The Bombay High Court on Friday noted that the BMC had clearly submitted before the court that the Shankar Lok building in Vakola, that collapsed on Friday, was “in a dilapidated condition.”
The corporation had urgently mentioned the case on Friday to inform the court about the collapse of the building, that had been embroiled in a legal battle between the corporation and building residents Shinda, Sudha and Satyan Sridharan, who refused to vacate the building for over six years.
Justices Anoop Mohta and M S Sonak noted that the case had been pending since 2008 with interim reliefs as the petitioners, the Sridharans, had refused to vacate the building.
The judges cited an order passed by another bench of the High Court on October 25, 2013, in which the court had observed: “If any mishap takes place or any untoward incident occurs, the Municipal Corporation will not be held responsible for the consequences qua the petitioner, as the petitioner continues to reside in the structure, which the corporation claims is in ruinous and dangerous state, at her own risk.”
The court on Friday directed the civic body to take necessary action in the subjudice matter. “The respondent – corporation – to take immediate action and all necessary steps. No permission is required for the same.”
In 2010, when the BMC attempted to carry out extensive propping on the building to prevent it from collapsing, Sridharan alleged that the appointed contractors were consciously breaking parts of the building that would weaken the structure. Sridharan, in her petition filed before the high court, furnished a structural audit report of a private agency, which said the condition of the building had deteriorated because of neglect and lack of repairs by the owner, Ashok Mastekar.