The Bombay High Court said on Wednesday that the partial occupation certificate granted by the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) to Bellissimo Crown Buildmart Private Limited — a Lodha Group company — for its New Cuffe Parade project in Wadala is within the rules.
The petitioners, who are purchasers of flats in the project, told the court that their grievance is primarily regarding the height of the building exceeding the permissible and approved limit. They said it amounts to “illegality”. The petitioners also said that a partial occupation certificate, dated June 4, 2017, ought not to have been granted by the MMRDA. The other grievance of the petitioners is that Lodha Group had demolished the upper floors of the building to bring the construction within the permissible height, thereby causing damage to the lower floors in several wings.
The petitioners were seeking that the partial occupation certificate be revoked and that the Lodha Group be directed to provide alternative accommodation to the petitioners until the demolition of the upper floors is complete.
The bench, presided over by Acting Chief Justice N H Patil and Justice G S Kulkarni, rejected the petition and said the provisions of the partial occupancy certificate “makes it clear that a part occupancy certificate of the building or part thereof before completion of the entire work, as per the development permission, can be granted subject to precautionary measures which may be provided by the authorities”.
The petitioners’ lawyer told the court that the Lodha Group had exceeded the permitted height limit. Instead of the permitted 134.85 m for wing 3 – a ground-plus-43 storey building – and 136.45 m for the ground-plus-45 floor buildings in wings 4, 5 and 6, buildings up to 139.90 m had been constructed. The lawyer added that once the height of the building was approved at 134.85 m for wing 3 and 136.45 meters for wings 4, 5 and 6, as per the modified commencement certificate in April 20, 2016, the MMRDA could not have granted part occupation certificate on June 4, 2017… “This, particularly when it was to the knowledge of the MMRDA that the height of the building had exceeded the permissible limits,” the petitioners’ lawyer told the court.
The bench said the petitioners were unable to point out any material that would show that removal of the upper floors had, in any manner, affected the superstructure of the building. The bench said: “…considering the concern of the petitioners with regard to safety of the lower floors/superstructure of the building, we direct the MMRDA to supervise the further work to be undertaken by Respondent No 5 (Lodha Group) with regard to all precautions and safety norms…”
The bench said that if the partial occupation certificate were to be revoked, it would cause harm to a “large number of flat purchasers who are not parties to the present petition”.
Rachel Mucha also contributed to this story