Can’t allow unauthorised buildings to take even one innocent life, says Bombay HC

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The Bombay High Court on Thursday said it will not allow unauthorised buildings to take the life of even one “innocent person”, while taking a serious note of the dangers posed by such structures.
A bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice M S Karnik was hearing a petition filed by three residents from neighbouring Thane, who had sought the demolition of nine unauthorised buildings in Mumbra that were being inhabited by several families, to avoid any untoward incident or loss of life.
The bench asked the state government why a 1998 government resolution, which was still being implemented, restrained civic authorities from demolishing unauthorised structures during the monsoon season.
“Is demolishing an unauthorised building riskier during the rains? What is the logic behind the GR?” the court asked.
The petitioners, one of whom is a state witness in the 2013 ‘Lucky Compound’ building collapse in which 76 people were killed, approached the court through advocate Neeta Karnik.
On Thursday, Karnik told the court that though the Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) had served several demolition notices to the unauthorised structures, and had even cut off power and water supply, residents continued to live there and had even managed to access power and water through illegal channels.
The TMC’s counsel Ram Apte confirmed that the civic body had sent several demolition notices to the nine buildings, but residents had refused to vacate.
Karnik said that the buildings in question were dilapidated and unfit for inhabitation.
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