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Thursday, Aug 22, 2019

Matunga residents to pay Rs 15 lakh fine for not vacating old buildings

72 residents say while BMC termed structures run-down, VJTI claimed otherwise.

mumbai Updated: Sep 19, 2018 05:32 IST
K.A.Y. Dodhiya
K.A.Y. Dodhiya
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
The civic body issued eviction notices to the buildings, which had been constructed on a BMC plot, in 2017.
The civic body issued eviction notices to the buildings, which had been constructed on a BMC plot, in 2017.(Hemanshi Kamani/ HT)
         

The Bombay high court (HC) recently directed 72 residents of six dilapidated buildings in Matunga to pay Rs 15 lakh fine to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) for failing to vacate the structures, despite giving an undertaking to the court.

The civic body issued eviction notices to the buildings, which had been constructed on a BMC plot, in 2017. The residents, including former All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE) chairman SS Mantha, had filed a writ petition seeking time to vacate the premises. The court gave them time until May 31, after they gave an undertaking promising they would leave the buildings before the deadline.

Senior advocate Mihir Desai, appearing for the residents, told a division bench of justices Abhay Oka and Riyaz Chagla that while the civic body’s structural audit claimed the six buildings were in a dilapidated condition in C-1 category (that requires vacation), a report by the Veermata Jijabai Institute of Technology (VJTI) in Matunga stated otherwise because of which the residents did not leave their homes.

Desai urged the court to direct the matter to be heard by the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) of the civic body, owing to the contradictions in the structural audit and VJTI report.

After hearing the submissions, the court held the residents were wrong in not vacating the premises. The bench held that as the residents did not inform the court of the VJTI report and simply attached it to the petition, their refusal to vacate the premises on the basis of the report could not be justified. Observing that the residents were “taking undue advantage of the leniency shown by the court” and in light of the undertaking being flouted, the bench directed the residents to pay Rs 1 lakh each, but later reduced it to Rs 15 lakh to be paid collectively by all residents.

The court asked the residents to approach with their plea on TAC, only after paying the fine.

First Published: Sep 19, 2018 05:31 IST

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