Architects have called the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) latest circular that says it will hold architects or licensed surveyors responsible if their clients carry out illegal constructions, unreasonable.
The BMC’s counsel, Anil Sakhare, told the Bombay high court that municipal commissioner Subodh Kumar had issued this circular on February 4 to curb illegal constructions.
“The BMC has not thought this through. If we are going to be held responsible, we should also be given the powers. Whether a certain construction is legal or not is for the BMC to decide, not the architects,” said well-known architect Hafeez Contractor.
Contractor also said that the BMC’s current system of approval has no legal grounding. “The entire system works on circulars which are interpreted and enforced by BMC officials. This has led to the clearances becoming a matter of subjectivity and not a legal yardstick. The latest circular will only make it unreasonably harder for architects,” he said.
Baba Dalmi, another city-based architect, said the circular is “extremely arbitrary”. “The BMC has no grounds to hold the architects responsible. If the problem is illegal construction, then they should refuse clearances. Holding architects responsible is uncalled for,” Dalmi said.
The high court was hearing a petition filed by Shri Balaji International School challenging the BMC’s action of demolishing a Reliance Energy electricity sub-station, supplying power to the school, set up on a plot reserved for a playground.