Residents of Lodha Aria, a premium apartment complex in Parel, have moved the Bombay High Court against notices issued by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation directing them to demolish alleged illegal constructions on the society premises. The order, pasted on the society wall by the BMC on May 9, granted one week to the residents to demolish the “illegal construction” on the first two floors, including a movie theatre, a gym and a party hall. At least 28 members, who own 55 flats in the building, have now filed a writ petition in the HC through their advocate Joel Carlos.
Notices have been issued to the civic body, developer Lodha Crown Buildmart Pvt. Ltd, the state government and the architect. The petition seeks setting aside of the demolition orders after examining its legality and validity. According to the residents’ petition, the BMC had issued a full commencement certificate to the building in 2010. Thereafter, an occupation certificate was issued in March 2011, and an inspection of the building carried out. The cooperative housing society of flat purchasers was formed in July 2011.
“The members have paid substantial amounts under the respective agreements …the residents were under a bonafide belief and understanding that the notice structures were legal and had no reason to doubt the authenticity of the same. “ reads the petition. It adds that the members, to their “utter shock and surprise”, received a notice issued by an assistant engineer on November 29, 2014, stating that certain illegal construction in the society premises were to be demolished.
The petition says the members responded to the notice saying the structures had been present during the visit of a BMC official after the grant of the Occupation Certificate, and “accordingly the contents and the allegations of the said notice were denied”. While there was no reply to this, according to the petition, the BMC issued another notice in September 2015, asking them to demolish the structures. The members again sent a reply saying the said amenities had been constructed by the developer and not the society, says their plea.
Thereafter, the members approached the High Court, who asked the BMC not to take any action as per its orders. During a hearing in the matter in January 2017, the developer said it would apply for regularisation of the structures within two weeks and the petition came to be disposed, but the application was rejected in April “as it seemed to not have been in terms with the rules of the BMC”, states the petition.
“The society was not aware of these correspondences until out of a sudden on May 9, 2017 BMC officials came on site with a communication stating that the members should remove the unauthorised work failing which it would be demolished after one week without further intimation,” adds the petition. This led them to approach the court again. The matter is likely to come up for hearing on Tuesday. Lodha Crown could not be reached for comments despite attempts.