Bombay HC rejects govt bid to regularise illegal constructions

Says arbitrary, contrary to norms that govern construction activity.

Written by Ruhi Bhasin | Mumbai | Published: April 28, 2016 12:15 am
bombay high court, bombay HC, mumabi illegal construction, article 14, public interest litigation, , navi mumbai, floor space index, indian express mumbai A demolition drive on Pimpri-Chinchwad. Express Archive

Rejecting the state government’s proposed policy to regularise illegal constructions, the Bombay High Court on Wednesday said the policy was arbitrary and contrary to the norms that govern construction activity in the state.

“We are of the view that the proposed policy is arbitrary and does not stand the test of Article 14 (equality before law) of the Constitution. If it is implemented by the planning authority, they will be acting contrary to Maharashtra Region and Town Planning Act and the Development Control Regulations,” said Justice A S Oka.

A division bench of Justice A S Oka and Justice Prakash Naik was hearing a Public Interest Litigation pertaining to illegal constructions in Digha in Navi Mumbai. The government had submitted a policy to regularise illegal constructions and sought permission from the court to implement it. The policy was meant to regularise certain illegal structures built prior to December 31, 2015.

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“We are unable to grant the prayer in the government’s affidavit,” the court said.

The policy included clauses through which use of Floor Space Index (FSI) beyond admissible limits could be regularised by payment of a premium. Other clauses provided for regularisation of buildings had inadequate parking area and setback areas.

“The effect of regularising unauthorised construction in industrial and commercial areas and no-development zones is that the planning authority will have to take steps for modification of development plan under the MRTP Act,” said the HC.

The court also said planning authorities did not have power to regularise illegal structures if the same were not in line with the sanctioned development plan. “If the proposed policy is implemented, there will be complete breakdown of governance in terms of MRTP Act,” stated the HC.

With 2.5 lakh illegal buildings expected to be regularised besides slum clusters, Justice Oka observed, “If such a large number of constructions are regularised, it will put pressure on civic amenities, building supply, roads etc. Before taking steps for regularising, the government should have made a study of impact.”

The HC also mentioned that the government had brought about a legislation for regularisation of illegal structures in Ulhasnagar without amending the municipal laws for implementation of the policy. “The draft policy is contrary to municipal laws, MRTP Act and cannot be implemented without violating the act,” said the court.

The government pleader said the state would come out with a fresh policy for regularisation. Meanwhile, the court said the demolition of unauthorised constructions in Digha should not be undertaken till May 31 in light of the present order.

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  1. S
    Jul 30, 2016 at 5:49 am
    I am not saying court should regularise all the unauthorised construction, but need to draw a plan which gives justice to those whose construction is law abiding. i.e. construction not done on reserved land, construction not over gutter, encroachment not on road or footpath, construction not on areas where no basic living facilities available, construction not on disputed land, construction is not for non living purpose, construction is not for running illegal business etc. lt;br/gt;I short construction should be for pure residence purpose and occupier should abide the law and pay dues and rent.
    1. V
      victor joseph
      Jul 6, 2016 at 10:48 am
      Sir/Mam,lt;br/gt;Now days the Bombay High Court is blindly giving orders to demolish illegal constructions and compelling the owners to vacate their homes instead of reprimanding the builders and the government mechanism because of whose laxity such buildings were constructed and homes were registered and sold by collecting all the necessary stamp duty and other;br/gt;The court is making the common man suffer by issuing such orders of demolition. People who purchase flats in these buildings are never aware of such future;br/gt;Instead of demolishing such buildings, the court should p order to collect fines from the erring builders and from the government mechanism which was involved which did not pay any heed when such constructions were in progress and when such constructions were registered even after knowing that these buildings or floors or houses were;br/gt;Why the common man, who invests all the savings of his life to purchase a home, should always suffer because of the mistake of civic administration and;br/gt;And due to such failure of government and oppression of the people by government, people who suffer because of such orders, become anti social and get involved in anti-country activities. They loose faith in government. Because asking some one to vacate the home suddenly is similar to pulling out a fish from;br/gt;The court should look at such cases from humanitarian angle also and should not p such orders blindly and without thinking about its consequences on the common man. Because its very easy for the court to p such judgement but its really very hard for the people to suffer so badly and to lose a hard earned;br/gt;I also want to point out that even after paying regular taxes by people living in these illegal houses why they have to face such ordeal. And when it comes to regularizing unauthorized slums where does the judiciary and courts disappear. Just because the slum dwellers are vote banks of political parties so no action is taken for their illegal occupancy. Actually a case of cheating under IPC can be lodged against the builder and all the government authorities involved in registering and selling such illegal homes to the buyers by intentionally keeping them in;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Please look into this matter seriously and on humanitarian grounds;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Thanking Yoult;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Yours Faithfullylt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Mr. Victor Josephlt;br/gt;Pune, Maharashtra.