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Mumbai: Against Bombay HC order, Gorai beach resort still intact

Updated on: 21 June,2023 08:09 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Sanjeev Shivadekar |

BMC official says decision on demolition will be taken once they know if the resort owners have applied for regularisation of illegal structures

Mumbai: Against Bombay HC order, Gorai beach resort still intact

Sun Beach resort at Gorai beach carried out multiple constructions allegedly in violation of civic and CRZ rules. File Pic/Nimesh Dave

The BMC is deliberately delaying action against Sun Beach resort in Gorai to allow owners time to regularise its illegally built structures,” alleged activist Chandrakant Gupta. Even though the BMC’s law department has instructed the R Central ward office to initiate action, officials have decided to wait to find out if the owners have applied for regularisation of illegal constructions. The move is in contradiction to the recent judgments of the Bombay High Court, which had stated that the law cannot be used as a “weapon” to regularise unauthorised constructions. It is to avoid political wrath, said a senior BMC official.

HC paved the way

The Bombay High Court on April 26 paved the way for the BMC to demolish a swimming pool, rooms and other structures built illegally at the seafront resort in Gorai, by dismissing an appeal filed by owner Abdul Hamid Mapkhan Shah against the BMC’s notice. On June 15, the BMC’s law department informed the R Central ward office that there is no stay by court on initiating action against Sun Beach resort. A copy of the letter is with mid-day. The letter, flagged as “treat as most urgent”, mentions, “In present suit, there is no restraining order against the BMC. Therefore, you are at liberty to take action as per the provision of law and send the action taken report to this (law) department.”

But still no action

However, nearly 50 days have passed since the HC order, and the local civic officials are yet to carry out demolition work. Deputy Municipal Commissioner Bhagyashree Kapse said, “I have asked the R Central ward office to check with the building proposal department whether there is any application pending for regularisation of the resort. Once we receive a reply from the building proposal department, the BMC will initiate action as per the due process of law.”

Justifying the wait, Kapse said the BMC had to face political and legal wrath in the past for demolishing structures whose applications were pending with the building proposal department for regularisation.

Against past HC orders

However, the civic official’s decision goes against the past judgments of the HC in matters involving illegal constructions. In March 2023, a 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 dismissed BJP leader and Union minister Narayan Rane’s application seeking regularisation of alleged unauthorised construction made in his eight-storey bungalow on Juhu Tara Road. Thereafter, Rane himself demolished the illegal part of the bungalow. Activist Chandrakant Gupta on June 15 wrote a letter to the chief justice of the Bombay High Court, urging judicial intervention to prevent corrupt practise. “Judiciary should initiate action to safeguard the constitutional values in the city of Mumbai,” states the letter.

A senior BMC official from R Central ward office told mid-day that they have started the process and soon, they will take the case to its logical end. Sun Beach resort carried out multiple construction activities allegedly in violation of civic norms and Coastal Regulatory Zone (CRZ) rules.

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