The Bombay High Court on Monday rued that for long illegal constructions have been mushrooming but time has now come to change the attitude that nothing will happen to such structures.
It asked the Maharashtra government to say if there was any solution to such unauthorized development.
A division bench of Justices Gautam Patel and Kamal Khata said as a court it wants to now send out a message that such rampant illegal constructions will not be allowed to happen “in its watch”.
The bench had last month suo motu (on its own) taken up the issue of an unauthorized four-storeyed residential building in Navi Mumbai. Out of the 29 flats in the building, 23 are occupied, five are locked while one is vacant.
The court said 23 occupants have been persuaded to take flats saying “kuch nahi hoga” (nothing will happen), adding that “now, we will change it…’kuch toh hoga’ (something will happen).
While hearing the matter on Monday, the bench said the gravity of the situation is such that the building has both electricity and water supply that have been procured illegally.
“We have to stop pointing fingers at individuals. Today, individuals are taking advantage. I am constructing what will they do or we will see. Because several have been doing this and they have been getting away with it,” Justice Patel said.
The bench said, several times, the person approaches civil courts and procures a stay against any coercive action proposed by the civic authorities.
“This needs to stop. We believe we must act without any further delay. I want to send out a message that we won’t let it happen in our watch. We will not permit this on our watch. Much of such things have happened because of courts,” Justice Patel said.
“We have to ask ourselves some hard questions. Every time it is said people come to court and obtain stay. I am now addressing the subtext. Look at this (Navi Mumbai building) case. It is so utterly gross,” he added.
Referring to the 2019 demolition of apartments at Maradu in Kerala for alleged CRZ violation, the court said, “The Supreme Court could do it with so many claimants. If it is illegal it is illegal and it has to go.” The court said it wants the Maharashtra government to inform if it has any sort of solution to such unauthorized development.
“We cannot contemplate a situation where the government is powerless to stop such rampant unauthorized structures,” the court said.
“An entire structure which is illegal from top to bottom needs to be dealt with as a class of its own. We are not talking about some illegal construction in an already existing building and regularisation of the same. We are talking about an entire building being illegal,” the court said.
The bench directed the court receiver to take possession of the land and the four-storeyed building and issued notice to the developer and the 23 occupants of the building.
The bench also said none of the owners shall sell or create third party rights of their flats.
The bench posted the matter for further hearing on October 4.