Irked with the functioning of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), the Bombay high court noted down the names of two civic officials, just stopping short of summoning civic chief, Subodh Kumar.
The court was hearing a petition filed by developers DB Hospitality and Suresh Estate challenging the stop-work notice issued by the civic body against the construction of its 30-storeyed five star hotel at Charni Road. The developers’ counsel Rafiq Dada pointed out that the BMC had demanded development charges at the rate of Rs2,200 per sqft as against the current rate of Rs500 per sqft relying on an ordinance that is still to come into force.
The BMC’s approach with regard to the ordinance affecting an amendment in Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning Act that was not published in the official gazette annoyed the judges.
The judges questioned that how could a statutory body take a stand completely contrary to the settled legal position, and against the specific wording of the ordinance, which states that it will come into force on the day of its notification in the official gazette. “One can imagine, how these officers must be behaving with ordinary citizens, who cannot approach us,” the division bench of justice DK Deshmukh and justice RG Ketkar said.
Counsel for the BMC, Preeti Purandare, contended that the ordinance came into force the day on which the BMC received the notification regarding the same. She also pointed out a clear statement to that effect was made in the affidavit of a civic official filed in response to the petition.
The judges commented: “The time has come to summon the BMC chief specifically to show him how the civic officials work.”
Granting the civic body time till Tuesday, the judges directed Subodh Kumar to suspend the two officers if their counsel failed to convince how the ordinance could be made applicable without a notification.