The Bombay High Court on Monday refused to stay the eviction of people from nine illegal buildings in Thane district, observing that it wanted all citizens to lead a “dignified life”, and not live in fear that their houses might collapse like a “pack of cards” in the rains.
A bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice M S Karnik said it did not want citizens to live a life fraught with the risk of their buildings collapsing during the rains.
“We want all of you to live a dignified life. Not a life that is always at risk… that whenever it rains, the building might collapse like a pack of cards,” the court said.
The court was hearing a public interest litigation filed by three residents of Thane district, seeking eviction of residents and demolition of nine dilapidated illegal buildings in the Mumbra area of the district.
Last week, the petitioners’ counsel Neeta Karnik had informed the bench that though the Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) had served demolition notices and cut off the power and water supply to these buildings, residents continue to occupy the premises and have accessed water and electricity illegally.
The TMC’s counsel Ram Apte on Monday confirmed that the civic body had served the demolition notices to the buildings in 2019 and again in 2021.
Suhas Oak, the counsel for the residents of the said buildings, sought time to vacate the premises.
Matthew Nedumpara, who wished to file an intervention application on behalf of some other residents of the area, urged the high court to stay the eviction process and demolition notices for some time.
The court, however, said it had asked all residents last week to voluntarily vacate the premises only to ensure their own safety.
“For us, the lives of all these residents are very precious,” the bench said.
The court also directed the TMC to file an affidavit by the end of the day detailing the number of occupants in each of the nine buildings.