After SC stay, govt has more time to explore legal options: CM

With SC giving relief to residents of Campa Cola Compound in Mumbai, Prithviraj Chavan said government has now got more time to explore legal possibilities.

PTI| Updated: Nov 13, 2013, 23:20 PM IST

New Delhi: With the Supreme Court on Wednesday giving relief to residents of Campa Cola Compound in Mumbai, Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan said government has now got more time to explore legal possibilities to resolve the issue.

Soon after the Supreme Court stayed the demolition of Campa Cola Compound in Mumbai till May 31, 2014, Chavan said his government`s "sympathy" was with its residents.

In a signal that the state government could explore legal possibilities to help out its residents, he said an ordinance to nullify the SC order was also being considered.
Apart from seeking legal opinion, Chavan suggested another option, which the government may look into.

"Some land is available (in the Campa Cola Society) and it could be consumed to regularise the building. This could be one of the alternatives, but even for that legal opinion has to be sought," Chavan told reporters here.

On the road ahead, he said, apart from the government taking legal opinions, Attorney General of India Goolam Vahanvati was also Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation`s lawyer and could chip in with legal help.

He pointed out that serious violations were committed in raising the building and the previous SC judgement, ordering the illegal structure`s demolition, was very harsh as it asked no state authorities to interfere with its order for razing the flats.

"Due to the harsh judgement neither the state government nor the BMC could anything in the matter," Chavan said.

He had also asked the urban development department to look into various aspects of violations of building laws and fix accountability for them, he said.

Quoting media reports, Chavan said residents bought flats in the society knowing well that they were built illegally because their price was way below market rates.

In order to avert such cases in future, where flat owners do not fall prey to these incidents, Chavan said there was need to have a housing regulatory body that will enable the government to take action against the builders.

"After becoming Chief Minister, we passed the Housing Regulatory Bill in the Assembly to keep a check on such issues. It was sent to the Centre, but it is yet to get President`s assent," he said.

Chavan said that even in the case of such violations, the BMC only has the power to issue "stop work" notice, but no power to confiscate machineries at the construction site.

Seven high-rise buildings of Campa Cola Housing Society were constructed between 1981 and 1989. The builders had permission for only six floors. One of the compound buildings, Midtown, has 20 floors and another building, Orchid, has got 17 floors.

This morning, municipal staff with police help barged into the compound in South-Central Mumbai by breaking open the main gate to take action against illegal flats in the society. The residents blocked the entrance and refused to allow civic officials to enter the premises as the BMC team was expected to cut power and water supply in remaining illegal flats.

Taking suo motu cognisance of protests by residents as BMC demolition squad arrived at their door step, the apex court stopped the demolition till May 31 next year.