Intend to demolish only 19 unoccupied bldgs in Air India Colony: MIAL to HC | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
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Intend to demolish only 19 unoccupied bldgs in Air India Colony: MIAL to HC

BySahyaja MS
Jan 31, 2024 07:02 AM IST

Mumbai International Airport Ltd (MIAL) clarified to the Bombay High Court that it only intends to demolish 19 unoccupied buildings out of 105 in the Air India Colony. This follows a petition filed by 310 families seeking relief against the demolition drive. MIAL assured the court that it will follow due legal procedures for occupied buildings. The court has scheduled further deliberation for February 2 to address the legal and ownership issues involved.

MUMBAI: Following the recent controversy around Mumbai International Airport Ltd’s (MIAL) thwarted attempt at demolishing a building at the Air India Colony, the company clarified before the Bombay high court on Tuesday that it intends to demolish only 19 unoccupied buildings out of 105 structures in the colony. MIAL also assured the court that it will follow due legal procedures as regards occupied buildings.

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The clarification was provided in response to a petition filed by approximately 310 families residing in the colony, who sought relief against the demolition drive. The city civil court at Dindoshi had rejected their interim relief application earlier, prompting them to approach the high court for an injunction.

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In their appeal, filed through legal representatives Ashok D Shetty and Rita Joshi, the residents alleged coercion by MIAL and the Airport Authority of India through various measures. They argued that the city civil court’s order lacked proper reasoning and neglected key aspects of ownership, specifically noting the role of AI Asset Holdings Ltd as a government-controlled entity.

The petitioners emphasised that legal possession of the property remained with the managing committee of the AI Staff Colony Associations, a registered body, which was overlooked by the trial court. They urged the high court to quash the demolition order, citing unresolved ownership issues and procedural irregularities.

However, MIAL countered these claims, asserting that the land and building structures were leased and transferred to MIAL following Air India’s disinvestment in 2023. The demolition was stated to be part of infrastructure expansion around Mumbai International Airport.

MIAL further referenced a decision by the Air India Specific Alternate Mechanism comprising union ministers, which permitted employees to occupy housing premises for six months post-disinvestment, after which they were required to vacate or face damages. MIAL noted that several employees had agreed to comply with this directive.

Additionally, MIAL highlighted the disposal of a writ petition against the disinvestment by the Bombay high court, which upheld non-interference in such policy matters. Criticising the staff association for approaching the high court prematurely, MIAL emphasised the need for adherence to legal processes.

During proceedings, the high court bench of justice RN Laddha questioned the staff colony’s locus and scheduled further deliberation for February 2 to address the complex legal and ownership issues involved in the case.

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