Campa Cola row: Check if order to transfer land lease legal, HC asks Mumbai civic chief
Court granted liberty to the civic chief to strike down the previous order and appoint another civic official for fresh hearingmumbai Updated: Jan 24, 2018 10:00 IST
The Bombay high court on Tuesday asked municipal commissioner Ajoy Mehta to personally look into a July 14, 2016 order passed by a deputy municipal commissioner (DMC) of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) that “virtually permitted transfer of lease of land in controversial Campa Cola compound at Worli” in favour of builder Krishna Developers.
Recording a conclusion drawn by the HC that the order appeared completely illegal, the division bench of Justices Abhay Oka and PN Deshmukh also granted liberty to the civic chief to strike down the order and appoint another civic official for fresh hearing of the matter relating to the lease of land to Pure Drinks Private Limited, the original lessee of the Campa Cola Compound, if he finds that the order can’t withstand the test of legality.
The court was hearing a petition filed by businessman Chandru Khemlani challenging validity of the order passed by deputy municipal commissioner (improvement). In the petition, filed through advocate Pradeep Havnur, the 50-year-old had contended that the DMC had issued the order on July 14, 2016 on a show cause notice issued way back in August 2010 for termination of lease of civic lands to Pure Drinks over purported breaches of the lease agreement.
Khemlani contended that the DMC (improvement) had no business and authority to condone the breaches allegedly committed by the original lessee and other concerned persons and therefore the order was completely without authority of law and therefore illegal.
The bench found substance in the contentions. It noted that the original notice, pursuant to which the order of July 14, 2016 was passed, called upon the concerned to show cause why the 999-year-long lease in favour of Pure Drinks should not be cancelled because of various breaches committed by the lessee.
Some of the breaches included the consumption of excess floor space index, over and above the permissible limit and illegal construction of about three upper floors on the buildings within the compound. The bench noted that instead of limiting the proceedings before him to the topic and purpose of the show cause notice, the DCM (improvement) exceeded his brief and went on to direct the six co-operative housing societies in the compound to form a federation, enter into consent agreement with Krishna Developers Private Limited, whom certain leasehold rights had been assigned by the orginal lessee.
Besides, the DMC (improvement) had also ordered the estate department of the civic body to divide the plot into two parts and also to create mutation entries in the names of the federation of the six co-operative housing societies and the developer. High court held that the order was completely illegal for the DMC exceeded his brief and went much beyond what he was supposed to do.
It has now posted the petition filed by Khemlani for final disposal on March 6, 2018.