Updated: June 12, 2021 2:15:02 am
The Bombay High Court on Friday said that interim orders passed by various courts and authorities in Maharashtra and Goa after April 9 pertaining to eviction, demolition and dispossession will continue to be kept in abeyance till July 9 in view of pandemic situation.
The court had on April 16 passed an order that eviction, demolition and dispossession should not be carried out during the pandemic until further directions and granted parties liberty to move HC in case of emergency.
A four-judge bench (full bench) of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justices A A Sayed, S S Shinde and P B Varale passed the order while hearing a suo motu petition on extension of protection to those who are unable to access justice due to restricted functioning of courts amid the pandemic.
Referring to the June 4 order on “levels of restrictions” to be imposed across state by the Maharashtra government, the HC said: “Taking an overall view of the matter suggests that resumption of physical hearings in all the Courts across Maharashtra is still at some distance.”
On the media reporting incidents of building collapses, the court said that in case dangerous or unsafe buildings/structures are required to be demolished or vacated, the concerned civic authority needs to bring the particular instance to the notice of the relevant division bench hearing suo motu PIL pertaining to building collapses.
Referring to a news report, it asked the BMC lawyer to ascertain the context in which Mayor Kishori Pednekar had referred to a previous HC order that kept eviction and demolition in abeyance while answering questions related to the building collapse incident in Malad recently.
The HC was referring to a news report published in a Marathi newspaper, in which Pednekar was quoted as saying that BMC officials initiating action against unauthorised structures are shown court orders by residents. “Therefore, our hands are tied…,” she had allegedly said.
“It is very unfortunate and unfair that building collapses are happening and municipal officials are pointing fingers at us. It is not that these buildings have come up after our orders. We do not want to encourage politics over building collapses,” CJ Datta said.
Later in the day, senior counsel Anil Sakhare, appearing for BMC, said that Pednakar was asked some questions in a interview and her answer was taken out of context. He said that the mayor is of the view that all institutions should come together to ensure such untoward incidents do not take place in future. Nevertheless, Sakhare apologised.
The bench said, “If you are on the right track and have not interfered in the administration of justice, you need not apologise and can maintain your stand.”
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