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Tuesday, July 05, 2022

MTDC-recognised ‘Bed & Breakfast’ establishments not exempted from BMC licence norms: Bombay HC

The court was told that the B&B outlet had been operating since 2010 and after Chadhha's father passed away, its name was changed to 'J C Chalet'.

Written by Omkar Gokhale | Mumbai |
Updated: June 17, 2022 11:32:01 am
mumbai news, mumbai latest news, bombay high court news, bread and breakfast mumbai, bmc newsThe court had passed an order in a matter between the man around 55 years old and his mother under the Senior Citizens Act. (File)

The Bombay High Court Tuesday held that the ‘Bread and Breakfast’ (B&B) establishments in residential units, which are recognised by the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) to promote tourism and provide affordable lodging, require a licence from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).

Observing this, the High Court dismissed an appeal by an owner of a B&B outlet in Juhu, Vile Parle (West) who had challenged the seizure notice issued to him by the civic body for failing to secure appropriate food and fire safety licence.

The court held that as per Section 394 of the Mumbai Municipal Corporation (MMC) Act, the BMC was entitled to seize objects being used by the appellant outlet.

Section 394 of the MMC Act imposes a restriction upon certain activities to be carried out within its limits except on the licence granted by the Commissioner and this includes conducting any trade on any premises as prescribed in the law.

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A single-judge bench of Justice Bharati H Dangre on June 14 passed an order in an interim application in a suit filed by a certain Harmesh Singh Chaddha through advocate Anuj Narula. Chaddha had also filed an appeal against an order that rejected his plea seeking injunction against the BMC based on its inspection report from taking action against his B&B outlet in a bungalow on Juhu Tara road.

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The court was told that the B&B outlet had been operating since 2010 and after Chadhha’s father passed away, its name was changed to ‘J C Chalet’. Chaddha had claimed that only five rooms on the ground floor of the bungalow were being used for the B&B while six rooms on the first floor were occupied by the family. But the BMC inspection report concluded that 11 rooms are used as guest rooms along with 12 connected toilets without requisite permission of the civic body, which Chaddha claimed was incorrect.

Narula argued that since MTDC had already granted recognition to his client’s establishment, tourism department rules applied to it. He added that the ‘Bread and Breakfast’ establishment under the “Iincredible India Bed and Breakfast Scheme” of Maharashtra and central government is not covered under Section 394 of the MMC Act as the same is a “homestay” and not classified as a “trade establishment”.
Chaddha sought the January 13 inspection report and seizure notice issued the next day by BMC to be quashed and set aside.

Advocates Dhruti Kapadia and Om Suryawanshi for BMC opposed the plea and argued that “it is quite possible in a situation that to carry out a particular industry or establishment, licence or permission from multiple authorities is required”.

Kapadia added that since the suit premises are situated within BMC limits, it is covered by the MMC Act and therefore plea be dismissed.
Justice Dangre observed, “The registration/permission to operate an establishment of B&B facility in a residential house is not a purely commercial venture as what is expected is some of the rooms of the residential house are permitted to offer B&B facility. This, however, prima facie will not absolve the establishment to obtain necessary other permission/licences which are required for its operation…”

“It would also require compliance of the building permit and it cannot be said that on the MTDC granting the permission, the changes in the residential premises will not have to be ratified/ authorized by the Building department of the Corporation. Prima facie, the licence which is required to be obtained under section 394 in order to operate a trading or activity upon the premises cannot be said to be exempted, merely on registration of the facility with MTDC,” the bench held and dismissed the plea.

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