Taking into account the fast-approaching monsoon, the Bombay high court on Friday, directed the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to expeditiously consider the proposal submitted by the tenants of the Esplanade School Building Tenants Welfare Association, which seeks permission to undertake repairs in the heritage building.
The tenants association had approached the high court alleging that the BMC was not granting them permission to repair the extremely derelict building, which is situated on DN Road, south Mumbai.
“Tell your officers not to put force. They must understand the anxiety of all,” said justice Ranjana Desai after it was pointed out that the corporation has been demanding various documents from tenants such as No Objection Certificates (NOCs) from the Mumbai Heritage Conservation Committee, the estate department and the building’s original plans which date back to 1880s.
A division bench of justice Desai and justice Rajesh Ketkar has also directed the city civil and sessions court to expeditiously dispose of suits filed by two tenants residing on the first and third floors, challenging BMC notices which seek the evacuation of residents and the demolition of illegal structures constructed in the premises. The lower court has stayed BMC action in one suit while no order has been passed in the other suit.
The judges observed that there was no reason why the BMC should be stalling action in the case of the second suit.
KK Singhvi, counsel for the BMC, argued that unauthorised structures cannot be suddenly removed as it may be risky in view of the building's weak condition. He also said that the corporation had no objection to tenants carrying out repair work in accordance with its notice, dated November 26, 2008.