The Bombay high court on Thursday rejected a petition seeking permission for construction of a high-rise building as part of a slum rehabilitation project around military signal transmission station at Juhu.
The division bench of Justices SC Dharmadhikari and BP Colabawalla rejected the petition filed by Provincial Housing and Property Limited while saying that a June, 1976 notification issued by the Ministry of Defense under provisions of the Works of Defence Act, 1903 does not allow any new construction within 500 yards from the wireless station.
In 1994, slum dwellers on the concerned plot formed a proposed society and decided to get their area developed under slum rehabilitation scheme, and appointed Provincial Housing and Property as developer. The slum redevelopment scheme was approved in April 1996 and the next month Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) also gave it their blessing.
After the state changed the entitlement of slum dwellers from 225 square feet to 269 square feet, the developer asked BMC for a revised permission. The civic body did grant it, but with a condition of obtaining NOC from the defence authority, as the plot was near the wireless station.
The developer, who wanted to construct a 48-metre-high tower, however, began construction on the site. The defence authorities then brought the matter to the notice of civic officials, who in turn, issued stop work notice to the developer. The developer then moved HC challenging validity of the notification and the condition imposed by BMC requiring him to obtain defense NOC for redevelopment.
The developer contended that the notification of June 1976 permitted construction up to the height of 19.20 metre and therefore the civic body must at least allow him to build to that height and not ask him to obtain NOC from defence authorities. The court, however, found no merit in the contention after noticing that construction up to the height of 19.20m was permissible only for existing buildings.
The bench also rejected the developer’s argument that even after the notification, several buildings have come up near the station, while saying that the mere fact that some illegalities have been committed in the past, does not give the petitioning developer any right to commit another.