In a major embarrassment to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), the Supreme Court has now slapped Rs2 lakh fine on the civic body after it did not disclose information about the city’s illegal constructions, despite the SC ordering it to do so.
The court ordered the fine on Tuesday. It is only after this that the BMC pulled up its socks and submitted an affidavit disclosing that there are a total of 100 Campa Cola-like structures with grave floor space index (FSI) violations.
Hearing a petition filed by the Maharashtra Ekta Hawkers Union on the treatment meted out to the city’s hawkers, the SC had on March 15 asked the BMC to file an affidavit detailing unauthorised constructions in the city. Accordingly, the SC expected the BMC to submit the affidavit on Tuesday, when the Court heard the matter.
Rather than comply with the SC’s orders, the civic body decided to not file the affidavit, and instead, submitted details of illegal hawkers in the city. Lashing out at the civic body, the SC then ordered the BMC to pay Rs2 lakh for “partial non-compliance of the order.”
BMC chief Sitaram Kunte confirmed this, but declined to comment.
Another senior civic official, who did not wish to be named, said, “We were ready to part with all the information we have about illegal constructions in the city. But our legal advisors instructed us to not file it yet since they were hoping that the SC would waive off the demand for the information as the case was related to illegal hawkers and not buildings. This move backfired.”
Haider Imam, general secretary, All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), one of the petitioners in the case, said, “Hearing our plea against the BMC focusing on the livelihoods of poor hawkers while turning a blind eye to illegal constructions, the SC had clearly given instructions for this affidavit. There is no doubt that the BMC tried to skirt this issue by filing such a misleading affidavit.”