THE Bombay High Court Friday said that the Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning (MRTP) Act does not give the state the power to compound unauthorised development that violates the Development Plans and the Development Control Regulations (DCR) across the state.
A division bench of Justice A S Oka and Justice A K Menon observed, “…the planning authorities and state government will have to show zero tolerance to illegal constructions and it is the duty of planning authorities to take immediate steps for demolition of illegal developments.”
In 2017, the government amended Section 52 of the MRTP Act by adding Clause (A), which said that the planning authority may declare any development a compounded structure if it is an unauthorised development carried out on or before December 31, 2015, by paying compounding charges, infrastructure charges and premium on payment.
The bench held that Section 52 (A) of MRTP Act, “does not enable the planning authorities or the state government to compound unauthorised development which are contrary to the provisions of the Development Plans/Regional Plans and the Development Control Regulations (DCR) framed under the MRTP Act”.
“Hence, by exercising the power under Section 52 (A), unauthorised development which is contrary to the provisions of the development plans/regional plans under the MRTP Act and the Development Control regulations framed under the MRTP act shall not be declared as a compounded structure,” it added.
The court was hearing two PILs — one filed by Mayura Maru against illegal structures in Navi Mumbai and another by Rajiv Mishra seeking demolition of unauthorised structures in Digha area of the satellite township. The petitions claim that no proper action was taken against unauthorised structures despite complaints.
The HC in 2015 had directed the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) and the City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO) of Maharashtra Limited to initiate the process of demolition of 94 buildings in Digha village, which are allegedly constructed on their land illegally. The government later told the court that it would frame a policy to regularise such illegal constructions across the state.
The court added that its previous orders directing CIDCO, Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation and MIDC to demolish illegal constructions will continue to apply.
It also directed the three to carry out a survey to identify illegal constructions and sought an action taken report in this regard by March 31, next year.