The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Monday told the Supreme Court that all possibilities of an “out-of-court” settlement had exhausted over the proposed demolition of 96 flats built illegally in Mumbai’s Campa Cola compound.
A bench led by Justice S J Mukhopadhaya had asked the BMC’s counsel if there was a scope for a settlement without involving the court in view of the long-standing dispute and the nature of the case.
The civic body’s counsel responded: “An out-of-court settlement was just not possible anymore.”
The bench, however, also questioned the BMC taking pretext of the court order to forcibly evict residents of the illegally constructed flats and proceed with the demolition. The bench categorically said it was the BMC and not the court which had adjudicated upon the legality of the construction of these flats and hence the municipal body should not give an impression as if the court had held these houses to be illegal.
It said the residents, if they so desired, may move an application for getting a clarification from the bench whether the court had ordered an eviction and demolition or not.
Appearing for the petitioner residents, advocate Prashant Bhushan said he would file an appropriate plea in this regard.
Meanwhile, as Bhushan sought to assert that the petition required a fresh hearing since some crucial facts had come to the light recently, the bench told him that residents should not protest outside the society’s gate endlessly.
“You (residents) cannot sit and protest forever. You don’t get anything by continuous agitation. You also cannot say this that because others are living in illegally built houses, we should allow you as well. All legal issues must be dealt in accordance with the law,” said the bench.
At this, Bhushan sought time to put forth his contentions and the bench fixed the matter for next hearing on July 21.
The Supreme Court had on June 3 dismissed the plea of the residents of the illegal flats against an earlier order asking them to vacate their apartments by May 31. After a prolonged stand-off, the BMC officials had on June 23 disconnected power, gas and water supply to the illegal flats.