The Bombay High Court Monday said in cases of redevelopment, decisions on proposals for any building falling under proposed heritage precincts and Grade III of the heritage category could be taken by the BMC commissioner.
A division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice M S Sanklecha also ruled that the same for proposed heritage buildings that fall under Grade I and II would be decided by the Mumbai Heritage Conservation Committee (MHCC). The bench, however, made it clear that permission of the civic body is required when height of such buildings exceeded 24 metres.
The court was hearing a bunch of petitions filed by Dadar-Matunga Residents’ Association, Maharashtra Chamber of Housing Industry and residents of Chembur.
The petitioners had challenged the BMC circular dated August 14, 2013, stating that under Development Control Regulation 67(2)(iii)(b) if the building does not fall under Grade I and II, then the redevelopment plea need not be referred to the MHCC.
“We are of the view that the petitions are justified in making grievance against the BMC circular dated August 14, 2013,” said the bench.
Arguing for the MCHI, senior counsel Milind Sathe said, “There is no declaration of any building as heritage building. Only a draft is prepared by the planning authority.” Sathe added that as far as there buildings were concerned, it was only a suggestion given by the heritage committee to the planning authority. “It is not even a proposal,” he said.
The court was also informed that 17 of 187 such buildings in Shivaji Park had been reconstructed. Similarly, 200 of the 941 buildings in Hindu and Parsi colonies and 300 of the 500 buildings in Chembur had been redeveloped. The BMC circular had directed its officers to obtain a No-Objection Certificate from the MHCC before sanctioning redevelopment or repair of buildings in the area.
The court was also of the view that the state government, BMC and MHCC should work in tandem to formulate and finalise guidelines for redevelopment of such buildings as soon as possible.
BMC’s counsel S U Kamdar informed the court that six guidelines had been sent to the heritage committee. While pointing out that the civic body was required to send guidelines for rest of the buildings, the court posted the hearing in relation to formulation of guidelines on Tuesday.
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