Asks why over 100 days since HC order, civic body isn’t acting against resort
The Bombay High Court ordered the demolition of illegal structures constructed by Sun Beach Resort in April. File pic/Nimesh Dave
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has slammed the BMC alleging discrimination when it comes to acting against unauthorised construction. Citing cases of union minister Narayan Rane and actress Kangana Ranaut, where the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) exhibited alacrity when it came to initiating action against their unauthorised constructions, BJP Mumbai Secretary Vivekanand Gupta has questioned why the same civic administration is silent when it comes to initiating action against illegal structures constructed in violation of CRZ by the sea-facing Sun Beach Resort at Gorai.
On April 26 the Bombay High Court ordered the demolition of illegal structures constructed by Sun Beach Resort. But it is over 100 days and BMC is yet to initiate action. Irked with the disparity in action by the BMC, Gupta took to social media on the issue. Gupta tweeted, “Action is taken immediately when it comes to action against Narayan Rane’s bungalow or actress Kangana Ranaut. But why are officers silent in the case of Gorai resort where the HC has heard the case and ordered demolition of the illegally constructed structures.”
Role of DMC questioned
In his tweet the BJP leader has even raised questions on the role of the deputy municipal commissioner (DMC) of the area. “Why is Bhagyashri Kapse silent on this case?” the BJP secretary questioned on his social media handle. On June 20, when this paper had contacted the R Central ward office, BMC officials had assured of undertaking a demolition drive within a week. In fact, speaking with this paper at the time, Kapse had stated that before going ahead with the demolition drive, BMC has sought a report from the Building Proposal Department whether the resort owner has applied for regularisation of illegal structures—in blatant violation of past HC judgments.
In March, a Bombay High Court bench of Justices Girish Kulkarni and R N Laddha declined to entertain a plea by a Kalyan-Dombivli hotelier who sought orders to restrain the civic body from demolishing the illegal structures and allowing him to apply for regularisation. “Any such course of action would amount to putting a premium on illegal construction and/or encouraging unauthorised construction,” the court had stated, according to news reports.
In 2022, too, the HC rejected BJP leader and Union Minister Narayan Rane’s application seeking regularisation of alleged unauthorised construction in his eight-storey bungalow on Juhu Tara Road. Thereafter, Rane himself demolished the illegal part of the bungalow. Speaking to mid-day, Gupta said, “The BMC’s action clearly makes one realise that everyone is not equal before the law for the civic administration.”
In June, DMC Kapse had told mid-day that the BMC is waiting for action as it wanted to know whether the resort owner has applied for regularisation of the structure with the Building Proposal (BP) department. mid-day is in possession of the July 26 letter from the BP department which has returned the file as the proposal for regularisation was put up without Chief Fire Officer (CFO) NOC, remarks from the CRZ, demarcation of plot by AE (Survey), CTSO and other necessary documents like—previous approved plan needed as per the rules.
‘Why contest the case?’
Taking a dig at the BMC for going slow in the case, Gupta stated that if BMC wanted to allow regularisation, then why did it contest the case in the city civil court and the High Court. “BMC has wasted public (tax payers) money in fighting a legal case. Now that the verdict is out, instead of initiating action, the civic officials are waiting for the resort owner to get the structures regularised,” Gupta quipped.
In fact, the BJP leader feels that BMC officials sitting in the headquarters need to move swiftly and ensure implementation of the HC order. “It will be a huge embarrassment for the civic administration if someone files a contempt petition and demands action against BMC officials for dereliction of duty,” he said.
Sudhakar Shinde, additional municipal commissioner, western suburbs said, “I will take all the information related to the case and appropriate action will be taken, if needed.” mid-day tried to reach DMC Kapse, but there was not response from her.
The other side
Vijay Mishra, who manages the functioning of the resort said, “The BP has not rejected the file, but returned it due to some pending compliance. We are in the process of completing the compliance as asked by the BMC.”
In April 2022, mid-day was first to report about Sun Beach Resort carrying out construction activity, allegedly in violation of civic norms and Coastal Regulatory Zone (CRZ) rules. Post this newspaper report, BMC carried out an inspection of the Sun Beach Resort. In February, BMC served a notice to the hotel owner for unauthorised construction—like rooms on ground floor plus first floor constructed above it, security cabin, open shed near swimming pool, banquet, seven wooden shacks (ground plus one) and 12 wooden shacks on the ground floor.
In order to save the resort from BMC action, Abdul Hamid Mapkhan Shah, the owner, immediately moved the City Civil Court at Dindoshi (Borivli Division, Goregaon). But the court dismissed the notice of motion moved by him. The owner then approached the Bombay High Court challenging the order passed by the lower court against him. But the High Court too dismissed the appeal.
Adv.Vivekanand Gupta @vivekanandg
‘Action is taken immediately when it comes to action against Narayan Rane’s bungalow or actress Kangana Ranaut. But why are officers silent in the case of a Gorai resort where the HC has heard the case and ordered demolition of the illegally constructed structures’
Day HC ordered demolition at Sun Beach Resort