In a new twist in the ongoing Campa Cola housing society case, the Supreme Court on Monday sought replies from the Maharashtra government and the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) as to what prevented the civic body from regularising some of the flats under the existing bylaws.
Hearing a fresh plea filed by the residents of the unauthorised flats of Worli-based housing society in which they have claimed there were provisions in the BMC Act to regularise unauthorised construction after collecting penalties and other charges, a bench led by Justice S J Mukhopadhaya sought responses in three weeks.
Claiming that around 80 per cent of the unauthorised constructions could be regularised if the BMC exercised its discretionary powers, the application contended that the same was not being done on the pretext that the court had ordered for demolition.
The residents urged the Supreme Court to clarify that it had only gone by what the BMC had to say about the regularisation of these flats and that no order of compulsory demolition was issued. The bench agreed to examine the request of the residents.
On the last date of hearing, the BMC had told the court that all possibilities of an “out-of-court” settlement had been exhausted over the proposed demolition of 96 flats built illegally in the compound.
The bench, however, had questioned the BMC over using the pretext of an SC order in forcibly evicting residents of the illegally constructed flats and proceeding with the demolition.
The bench made it clear that it was the BMC, and not the court, which had adjudicated upon the legality 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 that the residents, if they so desired, may move an application for getting a clarification from the bench.
Appearing for the residents, advocate Prashant Bhushan had said he would file an appropriate plea in this regard.
The BMC, however, is yet to decide on its plan of action. “We are yet to receive the Supreme Court order, following which we will have a meeting with the Municipal Commissioner and the respective departments to discuss the further possibilities. As of now, we haven’t arrived at any decision,” said deputy municipal commissioner Anand Waghralkar.
The 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 standoff, the BMC officials had on June 23 disconnected power, gas and water supply to the illegal flats.