Naval authorities and the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) undertaking got an earful from the Bombay High Court on Wednesday, for the latter’s decision to disconnect power supply to a high-rise in Worli due to “national security”.
A vacation bench of Justice S J Kathawala and Justice R G Ketkar asked BEST to immediately restore electricity to the 18-storey Har Siddhi Heights until June 14.
“Restore it without any charges. Otherwise you’ll charge them reconnection fees,” said Justice Kathawala on a lighter note, after BEST counsel H Toor said they would restore electricity to the building.
Renuka Shah, a resident of the building, moved the HC earlier this month, after BEST, on May 3, disconnected power without prior notice. BEST said it disconnected power after the Navy declared the building a threat to national security due to its proximity to INS Trata, a Naval war post.
The Navy’s counsel, Girish Kulkarni told the court that while it had declared the structure a threat to national security, BEST had not disconnected power based on the Navy communication.
Kulkarni argued that the builder had not obtained a No Objection Certificate from the Naval. As procedure, if a structure comes up in proximity to a Naval base, a Navy NOC has to be acquired, Kulkarni added.
To which the court asked: “Under what authority is the Navy saying a builder needs to obtain an NOC from them?”
The court also asked why no objection was raised over the construction of Godrej Bay, also located in the same area.
Kulkarni argued that Godrej Bay is near INS Trata’s administrative site, whereas Har Siddhi Heights is located closer to where its missiles are housed.
Toor told the court a senior BEST officer, whom he did not name, had issued the order to disconnect power.
The court directed the Navy, BEST and the municipal corpoartion to file detailed affidavits by June 5.
Fight for electricity