A committee set up by the state government in February this year to look into public parking lot proposals may no longer be able to review the projects, with the Bombay high court on Wednesday staying the government circular that set it up.
“A review committee set up by exercise of administrative powers cannot supersede a statutory committee," the division bench of justice Ranjeet More and justice Anuja Prabhudessai said, while staying the circular of February 10, 2016 issued by the urban development department.
The review committee was set up to look into proposals of parking lots whose actual construction work had not yet begun. The statutory committee the judges were referring to was set up under Regulation 33(24) of the Development Control Regulations for the city.
The judges said the committee set up under the circular of February 10 and headed by an additional municipal commissioner has been reviewing, and effectively superseding decisions of the statutory committee headed by the municipal commissioner, which could not be allowed.
The issue was raked up by developer DB Realty, who challenged the validity of the February 10 circular on various grounds.
Its counsel, senior advocate SU Kamdar, pointed out that while a Letter of Intent from the developer to construct 385 public parking lots for light motor vehicles at Lower Parel was granted in 2010, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation had withheld commencement certificate because of the review committee’s pending work.
Additional government pleader Geeta Shastri submitted the review was to ensure there was proper access, entry and exit facilities at the sanctioned public parking lot, to ensure there was even distribution of parking lots across the city and that there is no congestion in any area from the proposed parking lots. Senior advocate Anil Sakhare, who represented the BMC, submitted the committee set up under the circular was an independent exercise to review sanctioned proposals and therefore had, as of now, not affected the decisions of the statutory committee or the rights of the petitioner developer.
But the judges felt what the review committee has been asked to do was already taken into consideration by the statutory committee. They noted there was no legal provision empowering the state to review the work of the statutory committee set up under provisions of the Development Control Regulations for the city of Mumbai.