In a recent ruling, the Bombay High Court (HC) has stated that due to the “stubborn attitude” of tenants residing in dilapidated buildings which needed urgent demolition, several structures in Mumbai and the state have collapsed, resulting in the loss of precious lives and damage to property.
The HC said that such tenants and their lawyers should realise that if demolition processes are delayed due to petitions to prevent the civic body from doing so, despite clearances by technical experts, even innocent passers-by may lose their lives in the event of such building collapses and the same cannot be compensated. Maintaining the same, the HC rejected an urgent application filed by tenants of a dilapidated building in Ghatkopar (West) seeking a stay on its demolition.
A division bench of Justice SJ Kathawalla and Justice RI Chagla made these observations on December 22 while hearing the plea of tenants of Avichal Building number two at Sanghani Estate in Ghatkopar West, filed through advocate Vivek Shukla, seeking to stay eviction unless the owner pays the transit rent and enters into a permanent alternate accommodation agreement with them.
In light of the submissions and the material on record, the bench said that petitioners and their lawyers are well aware that they cannot be allowed to continue their stay inside the dilapidated building and are at liberty to the reliefs related to transit rent and execution of alternate accommodation agreement as per law, separately.
The bench led by Justice Kathawalla observed, “It is in view of such stubborn attitudes of tenants residing in dilapidated buildings which needed urgent demolition, that several buildings in the city/ state have collapsed, resulting in the loss of precious lives and damage to property. Such tenants as well as their advocates should realise that if the demolition is delayed, not only will the lives of the tenants and their family members be at risk, but in the event of such buildings collapsing, even innocent passers-by may lose their lives, loss which can never be adequately compensated.”
Refusing the plea seeking stay on the demolition, the HC noted, “The tenants residing in such buildings, as well as their advocates, should refrain from making such applications before the court, to repeatedly delay the demolition of such dilapidated buildings.”
The court posted the further hearing, to consider whether any other relief sought in the petition can be granted, to January 28, 2021, and said, “We make it clear that such consideration shall not prevent the corporation from proceeding to demolish the subject building.”