Alleging that the construction of Palais Royale the citys tallest residential tower in Worli that would stand 75 floors high when fully constructed has been carried out after committing the grossest violations in connivance with the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), senior advocate Navroz Seervai told the Bombay High Court on Wednesday that the builders had incorporated the refuge area of as much as 2,89,676 sq ft into flats in the building and sold it.
A public interest litigation filed by an NGO,Janhit Manch,has alleged that several illegalities have been committed while according sanctions for the construction undertaken by Shree Ram Urban Infrastructure Ltd (SRUIL).
Representing the petitioners,Seervai and lawyer Jamshed Mistry told the court that they had contested the permissions granted to the building on seven-eight major grounds and 20 minor grounds.
Seervai argued that as per the latest commencement certificate (CC) issued by the BMC,the SRUIL had permission to construct only 43 floors.
He said construction upto the 56th floor was carried out relying on an in principle approval from the BMC. Can an in-principle approval supersede a CC?
Seervai said the builders and BMC officers had committed a great fraud about refuge area of the building.
He explained that the refuge area is mandatory for evacuation in an emergency like a fire or a cyclone.
However,he said,SRUIL sold 2,89,676 sq ft of the 3,90,477 sq ft refuge area in the building as part of flats and over 1 lakh-sq ft area abuts the flats as a deck-terrace area.
This,he said,made individual flats as big as 2,064 sq ft. Are we in a city of Alice in Wonderland? We are in a city where everyday people are offered 80 sq ft,100 sq ft or 180 sq ft to live with families of four and five.
SRUILs counsel Milind Sathe,however,told the court that the PIL is not bonafide and the NGO is being used as a front by SRUILs rivals.
Moreover,he said the petitioners had not disclosed the source of funding of the public interest litigation.
The hearing of public interest litigation is on before the High Court hence we do not want to comment. We have denied the allegations made in the public interest litigation, SRUILs spokesperson said.
BMCs counsel Birendra Saraf said the corporation could counter the allegations made by petitioners. He said the BMC had issued a stop-work notice to the project,which was stayed by the City Civil Court.
The court will hear the case further on Thursday.