The Bombay High Court on Wednesday lifted the restrictions it had earlier imposed on the Thane and Pune municipal corporations from issuing occupation and commencement certificates to any new construction in certain localities. The High Court had in May prohibited the two municipal corporations from issuing occupation certificates (OC) and commencement certificates (CC) in Thane’s Ghodbunder Road and Pune’s Balewadi and Baner areas owing to water woes faced by residents of these localities.
The court had passed the order after two public interest litigations were filed claiming abrupt cuts in water supply to various areas along the Ghodbunder Road in Thane and in Baner and Balewadi areas in Pune. The problem had become routine and the residents were forced to buy water from private tanker suppliers, the PILs said.
A division bench of Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice N.M. Jamdar on Wednesday vacated the restriction so that buyers of flats did not face problems. “If this restriction continues, then people who have purchased flats in these areas would face difficulty. Therefore, we permit the two local authorities (Thane and Pune municipal corporations) to go ahead with the issuance of OC and CC,” the court said.
The court, however, ordered for a committee to be set up in each district to redress the grievances pertaining to domestic water supply. The four-member committee, which will meet once in two months, will comprise of the municipal commissioner, divisional commissioner, chief city engineer and member secretary of the Maharashtra Legal Services Authority.
The court noted that no resident had come forward to attend the meetings held by the Pune civic authority to address the water issue. “If there was really a severe shortage of water, the affected persons ought to have attended the meetings. We cannot totally shut our eyes or opine that there is no water supply problem at all. It may not be to the extent shown by the petitioners, but there is bound to be water supply problem when there are so many constructions coming up,” said the court.