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Adopt a zero tolerance policy towards illegal construction, HC to Maha

The Bombay High Court on Friday said the Maharashtra government and other planning authorities should adopt a “zero tolerance” policy towards illegal construction, adding that such structures cannot be regularised.

A division bench of Justices A S Oka and A K Menon was hearing a petition filed by Mayura Maru and Rajeev Mishra alleging unauthorised construction at Digha village in neighbouring Navi Mumbai.

In 2015, HC had directed Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC), City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO) and Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) to demolish 94 unauthorised buildings in Digha village.

The state government later told the court that it would frame a policy to regularise such illegal constructions not just in Navi Mumbai but across the state.

The government had claimed that it was contemplating to do so to ensure the common man does not suffer.

The government later submitted a draft policy before the court to this effect. But the court had, in 2017, rejected the same and said it would hear the petitions on merit and pass a final order.

In its judgement, the bench on Friday said it was the state government’s and planning authorities’ duty to ensure that illegal constructions are prevented.

“The state government and planning authorities will have to show zero tolerance to illegal constructions and it is their duty to take immediate steps for demolition of illegal developments,” the court said.

The bench has held that section 52 (A) of Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning (MRTP) Act, pertaining to illegal constructions and their regularisation, allows the concerned authorities to accept and hear applications seeking for regularisation.

“However, it does not enable the planning authorities or the state government to compound unauthorised structures which are constructed contrary to the provisions of the Development Plans, Regional Plans and the Development Control Regulations (DCR),” the court said in its judgment.

The court said all its previous orders directing CIDCO, NMMC and MIDC to demolish illegal constructions will continue to apply.

It also directed the three authorities to carry out a survey to identify illegal constructions in their respective jurisdiction.

The bench further sought an action taken report on March 31, 2019 against illegal constructions by the three authorities.

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