While the Supreme Court ( SC) on Wednesday granted residents of the 96 illegal flats at Worli’s Campa Cola compound relief for six months, it also delivered a big setback as it has clearly stated that the state government cannot issue an ordinance that would overrule its demolition verdict.
The one hope for residents now comes from the apex court’s instruction to Attorney General of India GE Vahanvati to come up with a reasonable solution that would be acceptable to all.
One of the options, residents said, is to take forward a suggestion to resettle the flat owners affected by the order.
During Wednesday’s SC hearing, Vahanvati suggested that while the illegal flats should be demolished, its owners could be rehabilitated in new flats built on a vacant plot nearby.
“We are not too sure if there is any such vacant land where residents of 96 flats could be rehabilitated. On one part of the plot there’s the Pure Drinks factory,” said a resident involved closely with the issue. “The plot is now being developed by another builder, so rehabilitation there is difficult,” he added.
Another resident, who did not wish to be identified, said residents will now actively push for part-regularisation.
“Now that we’ve got another chance, we want to convince the SC that since just 17,000 of 91,000 sq ft is beyond permissible limits, it could help us by allowing us to regularise the built-up area we legally deserve,” the resident said.
While the SC said no ordinance was possible, chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, for the first time on Wednesday, said an ordinance to nullify the SC order was being considered.
“Serious violations were committed in raising the building but the SC judgement, ordering demolition, was very harsh as it asked no state authorities to interfere with its order,” Chavan told the media in New Delhi
Civic officials said regularisation of construction was difficult. “The illegalities are too brazen for us to forgo them under any law.”