Almost a year after they petitioned the Supreme Court for relief, the residents of Mumbai’s Campa Cola Society on Friday received a major respite. The apex court permitted them to move the state government with their request to regularise the unauthorised flats facing demolition.
A bench of justices MY Eqbal and Kurien Joseph agreed to clarify SC’s February 27, 2013 judgment that had upheld the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) demolition order to pull down the illegal premises. It said on receiving the representation, the state government shall consider regularising the disputed structures, according to the law. During the hearing, the BMC said it wasn’t averse to the residents moving an application to seek relief.
The SC had in the past, too, indicated it was not averse to the new government in Maharashtra coming to the aid of the residents. The oral observations were made at a time when the Assembly elections were scheduled in the state. On February 27 2013, SC bench of justices GS Singhvi and Mukopadhyaya had ordered the BMC to demolish the illegal flats.
Later, on October 1, it refused to re-consider the earlier order and set November 11 last year as the deadline to vacate 102 illegal flats.
On a fresh plea of residents, who wanted to hold negotiations with the BMC to resolve the matter, a bench headed by justice Mukopadhyaya had issued a notice to the state and the civic body. It had even sought a response as to whether another chance could be given to save the residences.
Seven high-rise buildings of Campa Cola Housing Society were constructed between 1981 and 1989. The builders had permission for only six floors. One of the compound buildings, Midtown, has 20 floors and another building, Orchid, has 17 floors.