Expressing concern over violations of building laws by developers in connivance with corporation officials, the Bombay high court on Tuesday said that laws should be strictly adhered to, adding that dishonest officials will be taken to task for allowing builders to flout laws.
“Sympathy cannot be extended to them,” a division bench of justice PB Majmudar and justice RM Sawant said.
The court was hearing a petition filed by Shravan Developers Private Limited challenging the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) commissioner’s order for recomputing the floor space index (FSI) and possible demolition of lily ponds constructed at alternate floor in an 11-storey building in Juhu.
Appearing for the petitioner, advocate Pravin Samdani said that they had got the required sanctions from the last two municipal commissioners and the civic body too filed an affidavit saying the building was built on the plan approved by it.
Now the third commissioner says there is no provision for ponds under the development control regulations, Samdani said.
“That does not mean he (municipal commissioner) is wrong,” justice Majmudar said.
An NGO, Gulmohar Area Society Welfare Group, had moved the court on February 9 asking the municipal commissioner to look into the allegations; the court directed
the municipal commissioner to do so. The NGO had claimed that the ponds were actually swimming pools for the flats.
“This tendency is going on. People first build high rises and then ask for regulation. It will be a rule of concrete jungle,” justice Majmudar said.
“Corporation officers unintentionally or intentionally give permission and after work on 45 floors is complete, they issue a stop work notice,” said the court, adding, “This is a mockery of law. If officers are dishonest, we will take them to task.”
“A message must go clearly to the builders that nobody should violate the law. Chaos should not be created,” justice Majmudar said.
Samdani on Tuesday submitted photographs of the ponds filled with flowers to back his claim that they are lily ponds and not private swimming pools as alleged by the petitioner.
Samdani said that these were luxurious flats worth a few crores and the lily ponds were constructed only to add aesthetic value.
The court said that according to the commissioner people use it for bathing. “If you remove the flowers nobody can take bath in it?” suggested justice Majmudar.
The court has adjourned the hearing till September 29 and after Samdani pointed out that the deadline set by the commissioner expired today (Tuesday), the court ordered that the demolition, if required, will be extended till the next date of hearing.