The Bombay High Court came down heavily on Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) for demolishing structures of life guards put up at Juhu beach and asked the concerned ward officer to reconstruct at his own cost a watch tower and a room pulled down by him.
Hearing a petition filed by Life Guards Association, a bench, headed by Justice Abhay Oka, asked the officer to appear in person before the court on July 7 and file an affidavit stating that he would reconstruct the demolished structures at his own cost, failing which the court will pass appropriate orders to this effect.
The petition urged the court to order the authorities to compensate them or reconstruct the demolished structures. The room demolished by the ward officer contained costly life- saving equipment, said the petition.
The bench asked for the file carried by the concerned department and observed after going through the papers that the ward officer had acted on an oral complaint of a local MLA to demolish the structures.
The judges asked the MCGM lawyer in how many cases had the civic body acted on oral complaints without giving notices to the parties during demolition drives carried out by it in the past.
They said the petition had driven home the point that due process of law was not followed in this case.
The court also warned that it would not hesitate to ask the local MLA at whose instance the civic ward officer claimed to have acted about lodging oral complaint. The judges said they would record the MLAs statement to this effect.
The matter would be heard on July 7 when the ward officer has been asked to remain present and inform in an affidavit whether he would construct the demolished structures at his own cost.