A resident of a 13-storey building at Worli moved the Bombay High Court on Wednesday against the BEST, which disconnected electric supply to the building after the state government said it posed a security threat to the adjacent naval base, INS Trata.
A vacation division bench of Justice R.M. Sawant and Justice Mridula Bhatkar directed BEST to file a reply by May 17.
The petitioner, Renuka Shah, contended in her petition that some BEST officials visited the building, Har Siddhi Apartments on May 3 and disconnected power without notice to the residents.
Shah lives on the 13th floor.
Her lawyer Raju Subramaniam pointed out an apex court judgement holding that even illegal buildings are entitled to power supply. He submitted that the residents of the building, constructed as a slum rehabilitation project, have been without electricity since May 3, adding that the power cut has also affected water supply to the building.
Harinder Toor, counsel for BEST, justified the action saying the state has declared the building a security threat, considering its proximity to the naval base.
The Western Naval Command — perceiving the building as a threat to the base — has raised strong objection to the building since December 2005, and sought orders from the state to stop construction of the building.
They had written several times to the state saying sensitive weapons were stored in the base, which performs vital wartime functions, pointing out that construction of a high-rise building 15 meters away would adversely affect the functioning of the base.
Acting on the Navy’s request, in September 2008, the state asked the Slum Rehabilitation Authority to stop work at the site.
It had also ordered the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation not to grant an Occupation Certificate for the building without a No-Objection Certificate from the Western Naval Command.