Illegal constructions: Bombay HC slams proposed regularisation policy

‘It seems to provide for building first, then seeking sanction’.

| Mumbai | Updated: April 27, 2016 12:00:03 am

REFERRING to a proposed policy of the state government to regularise illegal construction, the Bombay High Court on Tuesday said the policy almost appeared to provide for people to build first and then apply for permission to get it sanctioned.

Pointing out that the state had not carried out an impact assessment study to ascertain the effects of regularising illegal constructions, the HC asked, “If there is any construction on Oval Maidan, this law will regularise the construction and will seek shifting of the reservation. In this case, the landowner is the government. In principle, can you tolerate this?”

Stating that the court could not tolerate this, a division bench of Justice A S Oka and Justice Prakash Naik asked if the regularisation policy, which pertains to illegal structures built before December 31, 2015, can stand the test of reasonableness under Article 14 (Equality before Law) of the Constitution.

The court was hearing a public interest litigation pertaining to illegal constructions in Digha, Navi Mumbai, in which the government had submitted its policy and sought permission for its implementation.

The court on Tuesday began dictation of the final order in the matter. It will continue on Wednesday.

“It has come to this, that under the provisions of the policy, a person can first construct and then go for permission of the construction,” said Justice Oka, while hearing the submissions. The court said the policy allows shifting of reservations and protects illegal constructions.

“There is complete departure from Development Control Regulations. Planning authorities like City and Industrial Development.

Corporation and Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation have acquired land, compensation has been paid, but they are not in a position to argue against a state policy,” said the court during the hearing.

The court also said the policy was contrary to the earlier orders pertaining to regularisation of slums.

“If somebody builds 25 floors, he can regularise it by paying a certain premium. There is complete compromise on setback, parking requirement. Have you carried out an impact assessment study on the impact on civic amenities? Such a policy will directly impact people who have bought homes legitimately,” said the HC.

Appearing for the petitioner, advocate Datta Mane said such a policy would lead to regularisation of 2.5 lakh buildings in the state. Government pleader Abhinandan Vagyani, while defending the policy, said the planning authority will scrutinise each proposal for regularisation.

“Navi Mumbai is a new city and should be a model city and no illegal structure will be tolerated there. The policy even provides for regularisation of slums,” stated the HC.

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