iconimg Monday, August 31, 2015

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, January 21, 2014
Terming the dilemma faced by residents of Mumbai’s Campa-Cola Society as a human problem, the Supreme Court on Monday asked attorney general GE Vahanvati to solve it.

A bench headed by Justice Justice SJ Mukopadhyaya gave two weeks time to Vahanvati to sit with the lawyers of Campa Cola apartment owners and find "if some via-media" could be worked out.

"It (the demolition sword on the residents) is a problem of humanitarian nature. Some time should be given to have a relook at it," the bench, also comprising Justice Kurian Joseph.

Vahanvati agreed to abide by the court direction. He, however, informed the court that an attempt was made to sort out the issue, but the same failed. "If your lordships still want to me have a look into it again, I will do it," he told the bench.

Counsel for the residents, senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi said the apartments were constructed between 1981 and 86. Penalties have been imposed for the deviations, which are compoundable in nature, he said.

The latest move to by the owners of unauthorized flats of Campa Cola Society, facing the demolition sword, is a last ditch effort to get protection from the Supreme Court.

In a fresh plea before the top court the flat owners want SC to recall its earlier verdict of upholding Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) demolition order against 102 illegal flats. The flat holders claimed they had paid several lakh of rupees to the corporation for regularization of the premises.

Flat owners have time till May 31, 2014 to vacate the premises. SC had on November 19 last extended the time for them after Vahanvati expressed his inability to propose any relief for the residents.

SC had on February 27 last ordered the BMC to demolish the illegally constructed flats. On October 1 it had refused to re-consider its decision and had set November 11 as the deadline to vacate the 102 flats, declared illegal.

However, on November 13, hours after over 100 families clashed with the police and the civic demolition squad, SC stayed the demolition till further order. But, six days later it gave partial relief to the owners by extending the time to vacate the premises.

Seven high-rise buildings of Campa Cola Housing society were constructed between 1981 and 1989. The builders had permission for only six floors. However, in one of the compound buildings, Midtown, has 20 floors and another building, Orchid, has got 17 floors.