The Bombay high court has asked the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) not to grant occupation certificate above five floors to an 11-storey school in Malad (West), after a public interest litigation pointed out the remaining floors were built in violation of the floor space index granted to the school.
A division bench of justice Abhay Oka and justice AK Menon was hearing the public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Francis Xavier of NGO Human Rights Foundation in 2010.
The PIL states Shri Balaji International School’s plot measures around 1,072 sqm. While the Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning (MRTP) Act sanctions only 50% FSI for the school building and the school’s plan that was approved was only for five floors, the school has used twice the FSI to build the 11 floors.
In 2010, a BMC officer lodged an FIR with the Malad police station, calling the construction illegal, said advocate Akhilesh Upadhyay, who is representing the petitioner.
On October 9, 2014, another BMC officer filed an affidavit in the court calling the construction illegal. At the time, the court said the state had not given an explanation for how the FSI was increased.
On March 4 this year, the court questioned how construction of the building continued, even after the BMC issued a stop-work notice. “A stop-work notice was issued, despite that the construction proceeded and no action of demolition was taken,” said justice Oka.
The court said this is an offence under MRTP that renders the construction illegal. Nobody appeared on behalf of the BMC and the state in court.
However, the school maintains the construction is legal. “The petitioner obtained this order by misguiding the court. We have buildings plans that are approved by the BMC and there is no illegality committed,” said Ashok Gupta, managing trustee of the school.