The state government’s policy to regularise unauthorised constructions made up to December 31, 2015, across the state, will not come into force, as the Bombay high court on Wednesday refused to grant permission to implement the policy.
“The policy is completely contrary to municipal and MRTP (Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning) Act, 1966,” said the division bench of justice Abhay Oka and justice Prakash Naik.
“It cannot be implemented without violating provisions of the MRTP Act, Development Control Regulations (DCRs) for the city and building bye-laws,” the bench said.
It termed the policy arbitrary, and therefore violating Article 14 of the Constitution of India because no impact assessment study had been carried out by the government before adopting such a policy, even though it will govern more than 2.50 lakh buildings across Maharashtra and numerous slums, and although en-masse regularisation of such a large number of illegal structures will adversely impact already crumbling civic infrastructure – like roads, water supply and drainage system.
With regards to slums, the judges said the high court has in another matter already issued a mandate to the government not to increase the deadline to rehabilitate slum dwellers from January 1, 1995, and the deadline cannot be extended by such ‘back door methods’.
The judges noted that under existing municipal laws, planning authorities cannot regularise a construction made in contravention of provisions of the MRTP Act, 1966, DCRs for the city and the building bye-laws, but what is sought to be done is to empower planning authorities to regularize unauthorized structures by acting contrary to these legal provisions and regulations.
The policy, approved by Maharashtra cabinet last month, provided for regularisation of unauthorised constructions, except those put up in prohibited areas like river, canals, tanks, flood lines, defense zone, heritage buildings, jails, dumping grounds and ecologically sensitive areas.
The state government is, however, likely to come out with a fresh policy because on the request of government pleader Abhinandan Vagyani, the court has granted liberty to the state to frame a fresh policy.