Mumbai: Borivli school's fight with BMC reaches SC

Updated: Jun 21, 2019, 07:41 IST | Diwakar Sharma and Samiullah Khan |

School approached SC after Bombay HC upheld the BMC's demolition notice; trustee insists school had Dy Commissioner's go-ahead for construction

Sean De Silva is a trustee at the Our Lady of Vailankanni Primary School at Link Road, Borivli. Pics/Satej Shinde
Sean De Silva is a trustee at the Our Lady of Vailankanni Primary School at Link Road, Borivli. Pics/Satej Shinde

The legal tussle between Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM/BMC) and the trustees of a Borivli-based school regarding the latter's demolition has now reached the apex court after the Bombay High Court dismissed the writ petition that had challenged its notice issued on July 4, 2014. The notice had directed the school to close classes from Std I to IV in the primary school on the grounds that the primary school was established without obtaining any permission from the competent authority. Around 130 students study in the primary section here.

One of the trustees of Mother Education Trust, Sean De Silva, told mid-day that Our Lady of Vailankanni Primary School is around 40 years old. "The land was in a no-development zone and we thought that it would take time to obtain development permission and thus applied to 'The land was in a no-development zone and we thought that it would take time to obtain development permission and thus applied to Deputy Commissioner GR Khairnar of the civic body for permission to construct temporary sheds for 10 classrooms. He granted verbal permission for temporary sheds after which we commenced construction," De Silva told mid-day.

Also read: Mumbai Crime: 40-year-old man attempts to rape four-year-old niece, arrested in Borivli

Sean De Silva is a trustee at the Our Lady of Vailankanni Primary School at Link Road, Borivli. Pics/Satej Shinde

On August 29, 1990 a notice was issued to the school by BMC's assistant engineer directing them to stop construction. Following this, "on September 6, 1990, Khairnar wrote on the school's letterhead that action to prevent construction should not be pursued and a no objection certificate be issued for water supply and drainage," De Silva added. Accordingly, construction was completed and classes gradually commenced from Std I to IV.

Recently, when the school undertook renovation, the civic body issued a notice to the trustee of the school seeking NOC of the structure. "We were getting the repair work of the toilet and septic tank done because we have to meet all the norms of Right to Education Act in order to provide better facilities to the students. But the BMC's education department wants us to shut the school," said De Silva.

Also read: Mumbai Crime: Borivli businessman held for raping 19-year-old woman in flat

Sean De Silva
Sean De Silva

"We have also approached the Supreme Court regarding the regularisation of the structure of the school. Khairnar had given us in writing that no action should be taken (against the school). But still the BMC is not willing to regularise it," De Silva said. Vice-captain of Indian cricket team Rohit Sharma studied in this school from 1990 to 2001 (Std VII), the trustees claimed.

The counsel for civic body Dhruti Kapadia told mid-day, "We argued that the education department cannot be compelled to grant approval to run the primary school from an unauthorised structure. After hearing the matter, the court has dismissed the writ petition."

The trustee then approached the Supreme Court who issued a stay order on the demolition of the structure. "There shall be a stay on demolition of the entire school, subject to petitioner complying with its undertaking and demolishing the structure mentioned in the schedule to notice dated 14 June 2018," reads the SC order issued on Wednesday. The notice was issued by the BMC to the school asking it to get rid of illegal alterations made to the structure.

Timeline of notices

July 4, 2014: Bombay HC issued notice directing school to close Std I to IV in the primary school August 29, 1990: Notice issued to school by BMC's assistant engineer directing them to stop construction of temporary sheds September 6, 1990: Khairnar asked civic body to stop action against construction by school June 14, 2018: BMC issued notice to school asking it to demolition illegal alterations to school. 

Also read: Mumbai Crime: Husband held for forcing wife to sleep with others, recording it

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