The Bombay High Court Wednesday asked the state to introduce preventive measures in the draft policy that allows for regularisation of illegal structures. The court warned that lack of such a mechanism would lead to misuse and people would continue constructing illegal structures.
Justices A S Oka and C V Bhadang were hearing two public interest litigations — one filed by Mayura Maru against illegal structures in Navi Mumbai and another by Rajiv Mishra seeking demolition of unauthorised structures in the Digha area of the satellite township. The petitions claimed that despite filing complaints, no proper action was taken against the unauthorised structures.
During the last hearing, the state had submitted a draft policy for regularisation, but the HC had then wanted the policy reconsidered. On Wednesday, the state made minor changes to the policy and placed it before the court.
The court pointed out that several clauses of the policy were not in conformity to the Development Control (DC) Rules, and questioned if this amounted to modification of DC rules. “The policy will have to stand the test of Article 14 (Equality before Law),” said the HC.
Advocate General Shreehari Aney said that the DC rules will have to fall in line in such a case. “I will have to look if modification of DC rules was intended to bring about the policy,” said the AG.
HC also said that the draft policy did not talk of any preventive measures. “In such a scenario, people will go on constructing and the state will help regularising it. This will become the order of the day,” said Justice A S Oka.
The HC also asked the state to come out with a cut-off date for the policy with the AG saying that the policy would mostly include all illegal construction existing “oday. “There must be some cut-off date. If you don’t come up with one, we will have to include it,” said the court, clarifying that they had not yet accepted the policy but no demolition action would take place till the next date of hearing, which is February 16.