The Bombay High Court restrained a city-based developer from going ahead with construction of a stilt plus 18-storeyed residential building in the heritage precincts of Khotachi Wadi in south Mumbai, after terming it as “illegal”.
A division bench of Justices A S Oka and Revati Mohite Dere was hearing a PIL filed by Indian National Trust for Art & Cultural Heritage (INTACH) against construction of two buildings (one 11 storey and the second 18 storey) as it is in “violation” of the Development Control Regulations.
According to the petition, the two buildings constructed by Deekay Realtors Pvt Ltd on a lane which is not even 10 feet wide and hence the construction is “unauthorised, clearly unsafe and poses a grave fire safety hazard.”
It questioned the “arbitrary” sanctions by BMC and the Chief Fire Brigade officer to the developer.
The 11-storeyed building has already been constructed and its first seven floors have been occupied by residents despite no Occupation Certificate (OC) from the civic body. The 18-storeyed building has been constructed till the plinth level.
The court, after perusing the case, held that the developer has misrepresented facts to the municipal corporation. The court said the lane on which the building stands is only 3.04 meters and hence no fire engine or any other emergency vehicle can reach the buildings.
“We have prima facie found that gross illegalities have been committed thereby jeopardising the safety of the occupants. If a fire engine cannot reach the building, it will pose danger to the residents. What is done by BMC and the developer is that they have completely ignored the safety of the occupants and especially fire safety,” the court said.