HC bars lower courts from taking up pleas on demolition drive

In a bid to speed up clearing of illegal structures in one of the biggest drives at Andheri,Versova and Jogeshwari,the Bombay High Court has barred lower courts from entertaining any plea related to the drive.

Written by Mohan Kumar | Mumbai | Published:January 20, 2009 3:18 am

In a bid to speed up clearing of illegal structures in one of the biggest drives at Andheri,Versova and Jogeshwari,the Bombay High Court has barred lower courts from entertaining any plea related to the drive. The move paves the way for speedy identification and demolition of illegal structures on the stretches.

A division bench of Justice J N Patel and Justice KK Tated last week restrained the lower courts from taking up any applications from parties aggrieved by the drive,so that it does not drag on in a legal tangle. Instead,the aggrieved parties will have to approach the high court directly for relief,if any.

The order came following a joint affidavit filed by the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) and Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) giving a time frame to remove the encroachments and illegal extensions of tenements on 4,232 plots within Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Nagar at Andheri and Azad Nagar at Jogeshwari.

Both the agencies had initially shifted the responsibilities on each other. MCGM counsel K K Singhvi had stated that since the structures were MHADA layouts,the corporation could not remove it. MHADA counsel G W Mattos had countered that the only power under the MHADA Act was to file appropriate proceedings before the competent authority and to get possession vacated of contravening tenements for violating terms of allotment which included carrying out illegal extensions. It was the duty of the corporation to initiate appropriate action,he had submitted.

The court was told that the target for removing the encroachments would be May 2010 as the total number of such tenements was about 5,700.

Now,wherever MHADA carries out a detailed survey,it would be forwarded to the corporation,which would then re-verify and issue notices to persons concerned asking why the contravening structures should not be removed.

Mattos also stated that the type design has been prepared by MHADA and approved by the corporation and each unit was to be constructed in accordance to the design.

According to the figures,SVP Nagar has 3,032 plots allotted to 98 cooperative housing societies and Adarsh Nagar has 1,200 plots allotted to individuals.

The court was hearing a PIL filed by NGO Disha seeking to remove the unauthorised encroachments on plots which were meant for housing lower income group societies.

The court has kept the case for further hearing on May 15 when both the agencies will submit their progress report.

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