Restraining the new owner, Windsor Residency, from demolishing the structure, the Bombay high court (HC) on Wednesday directed Maharashtra government to decide the exact heritage status of terrace bungalow Morena House on Carmichael road in south Mumbai.
The division bench of chief justice Mohit Shah and justice BP Colabawalla has directed the state government to decide whether Morena House is proposed to be declared as a grade II-B heritage structure or simply a grade III structure falling within the ML Dahanukar Marg Heritage Precinct.
The order came on a public interest litigation filed by a city resident, Prakash Patel, challenging validity of the decision of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to grant permission to redevelop the bungalow. The petitioner contended the permission for redevelopment of the structure could not have been given without obtaining appropriate permission from the Mumbai Heritage Conservation Committee (MHCC), as it was a grade II-B heritage structure.
The developer, Windsor Residency, and the BMC contended the list of heritage structures revised by the MHCC in 2012 did not specifically list Morena House as a grade II-B heritage structure and therefore was not part of the list of proposed heritage structures. Thus, they contended, no permission of MHCC was required to be obtained before the grant of permission for the redevelopment.
The division bench, however, felt it necessary to ascertain the exact status of the bungalow in view of the fact that the ML Dahanukar Marg Heritage Precinct, in which Morena House falls, was shown in the revised list as “heritage precinct with individually listed buildings,” and it was necessary to give some meaning to the categorization and ascertain exact heritage status of the bungalow.