HC refuses relief to 41 Vasai buildings facing demolition; pulls up civic body

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Mumbai, Jul 8 (PTI) The Bombay High Court on Monday refused to grant any relief from demolition to 41 buildings in Vasai in Palghar district after observing that they are "wholly illegal and unauthorized" and constructed on land reserved for a sewage treatment plant and dumping ground.

A division bench of Justices M S Sonak and Kamal Khata, however, granted flat owners in the buildings time till September 30 to vacate the premises subject to submission of an undertaking to vacate.

In June this year, the bench, while hearing a petition filed against the buildings, said there was no impediment for Vasai Virar City Municipal Corporation (VVCMC) to take action against such "patently illegal" structures.

After this, the VVCMC demolished some of the structures and issued demolition notice to 41 other buildings directing the occupants to vacate the same within 24 hours.

Fifteen persons owning flats in the said buildings on Monday moved HC seeking relief against the demolition.

The court, however, said the petitioners have not been able to show the buildings they occupy were constructed after securing permission from authorities.

The flat owners may have been cheated by the builder/developer for which they can sue that person and recover damages, the HC further said.

The bench also rapped the civic body for not taking prompt action in such cases and allowing such illegal structures to come up in the first place.

"The civic body is encouraging land mafia and poor people are suffering in all this," the court said.

The bench noted that the sewage treatment plant and dumping ground are essential and land reserved for them cannot be usurped by anyone.

"Wholly unauthorized constructions are put up at a site where they could not have come up. There is no question of protecting such wholly illegal and unauthorized construction," HC said.

The court said due to the ongoing monsoon period, the civic body shall not execute the demolition orders till September 30.

The flat owners have been directed to submit an undertaking within a month to the civic body that they would vacate the premises by September 30. PTI SP BNM