Illegal building construction in Mumbai: HC relief for actor Sonu Sood
The Bombay high court (HC) on Wednesday reserved order on an appeal filed by actor Sonu Sood, challenging the refusal of interim relief by the city civil court at Dindoshi, for restraining the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) from taking any action pursuant to the October 24, 2020 notice issued to him over purportedly illegal additions and alterations made to his Shakti Sagar building at Juhu, and illegal conversion of the building into a residential hotel.
BMC had issued the notice, calling upon the actor, who owns the ground-plus-six storey structure, to either remove all unauthorised additions and alterations and restore the building to its original condition, or apply under section 44 of the Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning Act, 1966 for retention of the additions and alterations.
Besides, the civic body had also called upon the actor to stop using tenements in the building for commercial purpose – a residential hotel and of the shops as restaurants, alleging that the change of user was without appropriate permissions.
Sood’s counsel, advocate Amogh Singh, however, maintained that the actor has not made any additional constructions in the building. He said the actor took ownership of the building only in 2018-19, and the building was as it was since January 1992, when it was constructed.
Singh submitted that the allegations of unauthorised additions and alterations made in the notice were vague. “Forget about the dimensions of the unauthorised work, even the floor numbers are not mentioned in the notice,” said Singh.
As regards conversion of the building into a residential hotel and ground-floor shops into restaurants, Singh said no permission of the civic body was required for the change of user, but by way of abundant caution, the actor has applied for change of user, and in-principle approval had already been granted by the civic body for the same.
Singh also pointed out that during the recent lockdown, Sood had made the entire building available as temporary accommodation for police personnel, and urged the court to grant an interim order in favour of the actor.
Senior advocate Anil Sakhare, who represented BMC, opposed Sood’s appeal, contending that he had not come to court with clean hands, and had suppressed several vital aspects of the matter that a speaking order was passed for demolition of the unauthorised additions and alterations on February 14, 2020, and the additions and alterations were earlier demolished twice – once in November 2018 and then in February 2020, and the same has reconstructed for the third time.
Sood has filed a suit before the civil court challenging the October 24 notice issued by BMC and had also applied for interim relief. He moved HC on January 5, 2021, after the civil court rejected his plea for interim relief.
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