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Tuesday, March 5, 2013

BMC should recover demolition cost from encroachers: Court

PICKING UP THE TAB

Mumbai: The Bombay high court on Monday suggested that the BMC should recover from encroachers the costs it incurs for razing illegal structures. 

    "Why should the BMC bear the financial brunt of demolishing structures illegally built by someone," said a division bench of Justice A M Khanwilkar and Justice A P Bhangale, adding that it was no surprise that the corporation faced a financial crunch. "In cases where the owner or occupant of the illegal structure is identified, the cost of demolition should be recovered from them," they said. 
    The court asked the municipal commissioner to issue a circular to this effect. 
    The court was hearing a PIL filed by Awaaz Foundation against the construction of an illegal religious struc
ture in a graveyard in Manori. The PIL claimed the structure had come up in violation of the CRZ rules. The BMC's lawyer said the structure was razed after the trust was issued a notice. The HC then asked the BMC whether it had recovered the demolition costs from the trust. The matter will be heard on April 4. 
    In 2012, in three cases, the HC had rapped the BMC for its approach towards illegal constructions. The HC had, in a petition, asked the BMC to set up a mechanism to redress complaints against encroachments. In another case, the HC had said there was no need for the BMC to wait for an FIR before taking action against illegal structures. It had warned government officials against creating "obstacles" for BMC officials over action against such structures. In a third case, the HC had said BMC can't "throw its hands up" if an illegal structure it has razed is rebuilt.

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