SC judge questions stay on demolition by ex-colleague

Campa Cola : Residents get 4 weeks to arrive at ‘workable’ proposal

New Delhi | Published:February 4, 2014 3:23 am

In a rare display of discord, a Supreme Court judge Monday raised questions over the suo motu orders passed by a former judge staying the demolition of unauthorised apartments in the Campa Cola compound in Mumbai.

Justice S J Mukhopadhaya, who was party to at least two detailed orders by the Supreme Court rejecting pleas by flat owners to stall demolition of around 100 flats, made his disagreement public in an open court.

Justice G S Singhvi, who has since retired, had led the bench with Justice Mukhopadhaya when the two orders were passed in February 2013 and May 2013. However, in November 2013, a bench that Justice Singhvi led with another judge stayed the ongoing eviction and demolition proceedings and extended the time to vacate till May 2014.

“One of the issues in this matter is that the court has taken it up suo motu. But under what provision? The issue is how can a court take up a matter suo motu against its own judgment? What was in the mind of the judge, who authored the judgement, to later take it up suo motu?” asked the two-member bench of Justice S J Mukhopadhaya and Justice Kurien Joseph on Monday.

Attorney General G E Vahanvati, who appeared for the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), could say only this much: “My lord will be in a better position to know what was in the mind of the judge when he took up the matter suo motu. What can I say about it?”
Justice Mukhopadhaya then pointed out that the last order mentioned it was a “human” issue. “The main matter has already been decided. Review petition is also dismissed. Now, what about an interlocutory application by a third party? It is one of the issues. Under what provision of law? This matter may be referred to a Constitution bench,” said the judge.

The court is currently hearing a petition by Campa Cola Residents Association and others, claiming some of the flats could still be regularised under the law.

The two orders passed by a bench comprising Justices Singhvi and Mukhopadhaya had asked the BMC to proceed with the demolition of flats built in violation of municipal bylaws.

The February 2013 order in fact held: “The courts are also expected to refrain from exercising equitable jurisdiction for regularisation of illegal and unauthorised constructions or else it would encourage violators of the planning laws and destroy the very idea and concept of planned development of urban as well as rural areas.”
In May 2013, the court dismissed an appeal against the Bombay High Court order, but gave the residents five months to vacate the premises.

However, a bench of Justice Singhvi and another judge took suo motu cognizance of newspaper reports in November last year and extended the time to vacate till May 31, 2014 “on purely humanitarian considerations”. This order also stated that the extension of time will not dilute the judgment and orders passed by the court earlier.

Meanwhile, the court adjourned the hearing by four weeks after the residents said they would submit a workable proposal to the AG. The court requested the AG to examine the feasibility of the proposal and inform the court accordingly during the next hearing.

For all the latest India News, download Indian Express App

  1. R
    Raviforjustice Raviforjustice
    Feb 4, 2014 at 4:00 pm
    Our unpredictable courts! I remember the Satish Sharma case where the minister was held guilty of misusing his discretion and penalise Rs 50 lakhs in what is porly known as the petrol pump allotment scam. The later the same court cancelled the penalty saying there was no malafide intentions! Isn't it high time somebody called the bluff that is our justice delivery system?
    Reply
  2. S
    samarsen
    Feb 3, 2014 at 11:47 pm
    human tragedy in supreme court decisions.accepted that a decision in favour of campacola flats will open pandoras box but are the laws for humanity or humanity for laws.surely laws have not dropped from heaven.they can be changed looking to present condition.judiciery is bound by leter and spirit,but is it not a fact that several times in their decisions things have different and descritionery.well campacola can be one decision on humaneterian ground due to the fact people are stying there for over thirty years.this itself is cause enough to favour them with permission to stey. with law.
    Reply
  3. S
    samarsen
    Feb 3, 2014 at 11:47 pm
    human tragedy in supreme court decisions.accepted that a decision in favour of campacola flats will open pandoras box but are the laws for humanity or humanity for laws.surely laws have not dropped from heaven.they can be changed looking to present condition.judiciery is bound by leter and spirit,but is it not a fact that several times in their decisions things have different and descritionery.well campacola can be one decision on humaneterian ground due to the fact people are stying there for over thirty years.this itself is cause enough to favour them with permission to stey. with law.
    Reply