The corporation has often faced the flak from the Bombay High Court be it for failing to provide proper infrastructure to the Mumbaikars or for failing to file affidavit. However, the laxity on the part of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation was further highlighted when the high court issued show cause notice to the municipal commissioner as to why contempt action should not be initiated against the corporation for not complying with a 1997 HC order.
Way back on December 16, 1997, the HC had directed the BMC to undertake survey of Adarsh Nagar area in Jogeshwari in western suburbs before undertaking its redevelopment. The survey was to be conducted to find out the eligible number of slum dwellers for rehabilitation before demolishing their shanties.
The Adarsh Nagar area was declared as slum area by the Maharashtra government by notification in January 1986.
The direction was issued to BMC following a petition filed by Adarsh Rahawasi Sangh comprising of some residents alleging that the BMC officers were threatening to demolish their tenements without providing alternate accommodation despite them having settled there prior to January 1, 1995.
The HC had restrained the BMC form taking any action against the tenements in Anand Nagar without conducting the survey.
However, some persons claiming to be from the BMC once again threatened to demolish the tenements in March last year. The residents sent letters on four different occasions in 2006 – July 12, August 2, August 8 and December 7 – for conducting the survey to decide the eligibility. However, there was no reply from the BMC.
In August 2006, the residents association, Adarsh Ambedkar Seva Sangh, sought the information about the survey under the Right to Information Act. They received a reply stating that no survey was undertaken of the area.
Adarsh Ambedkar Seva Sangh approached the HC after the BMC officials allegedly threatened in February again to demolish the structures. Their lawyer M.B. Jadhav argued that the BMC cannot undertake demolition without carrying out the survey.
On last occasion the HC had given two weeks time to BMC to file its reply, however when no reply was on Monday, a division bench of Chief Justice Swatanter Kumar and Justice S.C. Dharmadhikari issued show cause notice to BMC commissioner Johny Joseph and assistant municipal commissioner of K ward. They have to reply in four weeks as to why contempt action should not be initiated against the corporation.
Municipal Commissioner Johny Joseph told HT that he was as yet not aware of the matter and would comment after seeing the order. “I am Delhi for a matter in the Supreme Court. Call me after I return,” he said.