HC asks govt for anti-illegal construction policy



Mumbai: Lambasting the Maharashtra government for its failure to curb illegal constructions across the state, the Bombay High Court on Friday directed the government to come up with a comprehensive policy to address the issue.

A division bench of Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justice Amjad Sayed was hearing a petition filed by Pune-based NGO Kranti Shetkari Sangh against mushrooming of illegal structures in Pune, that do not come under the jurisdiction of Pune Municipal Corporation or the Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation.

The high court had in 2012 directed the government to demolish 23 such illegal structures in that area at the earliest. However, the government on Friday filed an application, seeking time till December 2013 to comply with the demolition order.

"The demolition of 23 buildings would cost over Rs 2.50 crore. The government will also have to outsource manpower," assistant government pleader Nitin Deshpande said.

While the court granted time only till August 2013, Justice Chandrachud said, "We want to know what you (government) are doing to stop illegal constructions? The victim in this is the innocent flat purchasers. The developers wash their hands off."

The court directed the government to come up with a comprehensive policy to curb the issue. It also directed the government to form a planning authority under the MRTP Act to look into unauthorised constructions coming up in areas outside municipal limits.

"We want the government to commence inquiry and accord blame on errant officials. Find out who is responsible," the court said.

The court has posted the matter on July 15 by when the government will have to state what steps it has taken to form the policy.

According to Deshpande, the state had issued notices to builders, after which the flat owners, too, approached the government to hear their side.

PTI