Power and water supply will not be restored to Adarsh Society at Colaba.
The Colaba society has been accused of construction and environmental violations as well as of getting the plot on which it stands on the promise of building houses for war widows. However, most flats went to politicians, military commanders and bureaucrats.
On Thursday, the Bombay High Court dismissed two petitions filed by Brigadier A Chopra, a member of the society, seeking restoring of electricity and water supply to the 31-storey building.
On October 31, 2010, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and the Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) undertaking disconnected water and electricity supply respectively to the high-rise building after the Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority revoked its occupancy certificate.
Chopra challenged the revocation, arguing that there are no legal provisions that empower the BMC or the BEST to disconnect water or power supply on any grounds other than non-payment of dues.
Power and water supply were disconnected on the grounds that Adarsh members were not legal occupants once the occupancy certificate was revoked.
Chopra’s lawyer, Janak Dwarkadas, referred to a Supreme Court verdict holding that the right to life includes supply of essentials such as water and power and that their supply had nothing to do with the validity of the occupancy. “Otherwise, no slum dweller in Mumbai or any other city could get power or water,” Dwarkadas said.
The BEST lawyer argued that Section 43 of the Electricity Act (2003) requires that those occupying the premises be legal occupants. The judges agreed with the argument and dismissed Chopra’s petitions.
Meanwhile, a division bench expressed unhappiness over the lack of progress in tracing the Adarsh-related files that went missing from Mantralaya. “This is the worst part [of the scam], but it appears that the CBI has not done any investigation into the missing files,” the court said.