Wednesday, June 23, 2021
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HC rejects plea for policy to regularise illegal buildings

The Bombay High Court rejected a Maharashtra Government plea seeking to implement a policy to regularise illegal structures across the state which have come up prior to December 31, 2015.

Turning down the plea, the court held that such a policy is violative of Article 14 of the Constitution and was also not in conformity with the provisions of Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning Act (MRTP), 1966.

“We cannot allow such a policy…the application of the state government for regularising illegal constructions is hereby rejected,” said a bench headed by Justice Abhay Oka.

A draft of the policy was presented to the court earlier this month during the hearing of a public interest litigation challenging illegal constructions in Navi Mumbai on public land.

The high court was informed by the petitioner that there were around 2.50 lakh illegal structures in the state, excluding the slums.

The bench also observed the proposed policy was not in consonance with the Development Control Regulations and rules.

Maharashtra cannot be allowed to protect illegal structures in keeping with the provisions of existing laws, the judges ruled.

This policy is also violative of a High Court order restraining the government from extending the cut-off date, which is January 1, 1995, said the bench.

The proposed policy permitted construction on land reserved for schools, playgrounds, roads, open spaces and even government land and those belonging to public authorities.

It also proposed to regualarise illegal constructions in industrial, commercial and no-development zones by converting them into residential zones. Besides, it allowed illegal structures to be regularised in residential zones.

The court opined that if such a large number of constructions were regularised, people at large would be deprived of civic amenities such as water and electricity supply because it would not be possible for the authorities to cater to the huge population.

The state was duty-bound to study how provision of civic amenities to the people would be impacted if illegal structures were allowed to be regularised, observed the bench.

The HC had earlier passed orders including demolition of such buildings and had restrained the state government from implementing the policy without the Court’s approval.

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