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Bombay high court directs Gaylord to demolish cake shop within two weeks

The Bombay high court on Wednesday directed the managers of the iconic South Bombay restaurant Gaylord to demolish their cake shop housed right outside the restaurant, the open seating area along the shop and the outside enclosure, within two weeks.

mumbai Updated: Mar 30, 2017 00:30 IST
Ayesha Arvind
The restaurant management had approached the high court earlier this month after the corporation rejected their plea to regularise the cake shop and the outdoor seating area.
The restaurant management had approached the high court earlier this month after the corporation rejected their plea to regularise the cake shop and the outdoor seating area.(HT)

The Bombay high court on Wednesday directed the managers of the iconic South Bombay restaurant Gaylord to demolish their cake shop housed right outside the restaurant, the open seating area along the shop and the outside enclosure, within two weeks.

A bench of justices Naresh Patil and Shalini Phansalkar-Joshi however, permitted the restaurant management to apply to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) again if they wanted to regularise or reinstall a temporary or retractable awning, or to make other modifications to the open space within the restaurant compound.

The bench gave the civic body four weeks to consider the restaurant management’s application.

The directions came after the BMC told the court that the restaurant’s cake shop, and other modifications made to the open space along the restaurant were ‘illegal’.” It said the cake shop and the outside seating area were safety hazards and would obstruct fire trucks from entering the building.

However, the restaurant management argued that the structure had remained unchanged since 1956 and that they had been paying license fees and regularisation penalties for the cake shop, outside seating area, and the fencing since the restaurant’s inception.

They produced letters from the collector’s office as proof that they had been paying license fees. They included a letter from the district collector, in which he permitted them to operate the cake shop and the open seating area after they paid the revised license fees.

However, civic officials said that even if the restaurant had “rightly or wrongly been granted permission for such structures in the past, the restaurant, in its current form, violated the BMC’s compulsory open space rules.”

The court questioned whether the collector’s office could exercise jurisdiction in permitting or prohibiting the use of open spaces. It said this was the corporation’s right.

It also asked the corporation why it had raised the issue so late and if it intended to implement its open space policy for all establishments or only Gaylord.

The restaurant management had approached the high court earlier this month after the corporation rejected their plea to regularise the cake shop and the outdoor seating area.

According to their plea, the restaurant was set up in 1956 and at the time, the management installed an awning and constructed a fence along a 20x5.40 metre area in front of the restaurant to accommodate the cake shop and an open seating area for its patrons. The plan, they said, was approved by the district collector at the time.

The restaurant management also submitted that in 1958, it paid a penalty of Rs204 to BMC and got the awning, fencing and the use of the open space regularised.

In January, the BMC sent them a notice, stating that the awning, cake shop and outside seating area encroached upon the compulsory open space that all establishments must maintain according to the civic body’s rules. It asked why these structures should not be demolished. The civic body subsequently sent another notice asking them to reapply for regularisation. However, when they did so, the BMC rejected their application.

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No action against Gaylord: HC to Mumbai civic body