In an order that could set precedent for other buildings which are yet to be regularised in Ulhasnagar and have received demolition notice, the Bombay High Court on Thursday stayed the demolition of a building which applied for regularisation after the stipulated 60 days.
Shanti Palace, a six storied building was served a notice in April last year to submit proposal for its regularisation and to pay the compounding fee within a period of sixty days.
Shanti Palace is allegedly one of the 855 irregular and illegal buildings which were to be demolished by the HC order provided it fails to produce documents for regularizing it.
In April 2005, a division bench of he HC had directed the Ulhasnagar Municipal Corporation (UMC) to demolish 855 irregular structures in its jurisdiction following a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by a citizen H Tanvani seeking action against irregular structures.
However, considering the large number of irregular structures and possible law and order situation problem while demolishing them, the Maharashtra Government had passed an Act - Regularisation of Unauthorised Development in the City of Ulhasnagar Act - in March 2006 to regularize the structures which were set up prior to January 1, 2005.
According to the Act, notices were issued to the buildings were asked to submit documents and pay compounding fee.
Two plots of land were purchased by M/s Pooja Enterprise through its partners Girdhari Jawaharani and Ramchandra Parwani and started construction in 1994. BY 1996, five-storied Shanti Palace was constructed consisting of 21 flats and 6 shops.
The UMC issued a notice to the Shanti Palace in April 2006 granting it 60 days time to submit proposal for regularization and compounding fees.
Claiming that due to non-cooperation from the developer they could not submit documents – title deed with regard to property, proof of ownership/occupation, particulars about unauthorized developments, layout plan and building plan - within the 60 days, the residents of Shanti Palace sought further time.
Besides, some of the residents were in financial difficulty, claimed the petition.
The petition, adds that they learnt subsequently that the builder had not obtained the approval for construction of building on one of the plots and had consumed extra Floor Space Index (FSI). Besides, the plans were approved for construction of a building on one plot, which was to be only ground plus two floors.
In December 2006, one of the residents of Shanti Palace was made to acknowledge on the notice to vacate the premises without giving a copy, alleges the petition.
The residents have approached the HC seeking that the demolition of their building be stayed till the UMC decides on their regularization proposal, which was submitted after the 60 day period.
After the Regularisation Act was enacted, the HC had stayed the demolition of the buildings for 18 months in January 2006 – till June 2007. Even this 18 month period has not expired.
A division bench of Justice H.L. Gokhale and Justice V.M. Kanade stayed the demolition till the UMC decides on their regularisation proposal.