The Bombay High Court on Thursday directed the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and other civic bodies around Mumbai to furnish data on unauthorised constructions in their respective areas.
A Division Bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice G.S. Kulkarni was hearing a suo motu public interest litigation (PIL) after it took cognisance of the collapse of the 43-year-old Jilani building in Bhiwandi on September 21, wherein over 40 people died. The court had widened the scope of the PIL to include all dilapidated buildings in the city.
Civic bodies ‘silent’ on data
During the last hearing, the High Court had asked all these civic bodies to file replies detailing what had been done so far to regulate such construction. On Thursday, as per direction from the court, most civic bodies had filed their affidavits.
The court, however, noted that while most civic bodies, including the BMC, had submitted details of the dilapidated structures, they had stayed “silent” on unauthorised constructions.
The Bench said the BMC and other civic bodies must file additional affidavits by October 26 informing the court of the number of unauthorised constructions, the action taken so far, and the measures they plan to take against such structures in future.
The court also directed the State Urban Development Department to look at what each municipal corporation had said in the affidavits filed in the HC on Thursday, and to file a comprehensive reply summing up everything by October 26. On September 24, the court had made the State of Maharashtra, the BMC, and the municipal corporations of Bhiwandi-Nizampur, Kalyan-Dombivli, and Navi Mumbai, respondents in the case.
Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhakoni told the court, “We will file our replies detailing what has been done so far across the State for such buildings and measures taken, as well as the steps we propose to take in future.”