Mumbra ‘unauthorised’ buildings: Bombay High Court says residents should live without fear of building collapse

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The Bombay High Court Monday, while asking residents of nine dilapidated buildings in Mumbra and Thane to vacate their premises, said it wanted citizens to live a “dignified life” and not under a risk that  their houses might collapse like a “pack of cards” during monsoon season.
The court also asked the Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) to give its response as to how many occupants were staying in the said premises to pass appropriate orders.
A division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Makarand S Karnik made remarks in a PIL by three Thane residents who had sought demolition of nine “unauthorised” buildings in Mumbra area to avoid loss of lives in the event of a mishap. It said that a building collapse might take several lives and it “did not want even one innocent person to die” in such an incident.
“We want all of you to live a dignified life. Not a life that is always at risk…that whenever it rains, the building might collapse like a pack of cards,” the bench orally remarked.
Last week, the bench had asked the state government why the 1998 Government Resolution (GR) that restrained civic bodies from demolishing unauthorised structures during monsoon season was still being implemented and why a similar decision was taken last year.
Advocate Neeta Karnik had last week told the bench that even though the Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) had sent several notices for demolition and to vacate the unauthorised structures, residents continued to live there. She said that despite the civic body having cut off power and water supply, residents managed to access the same through illegal ways.
Karnik said that the buildings in question were dilapidated and unfit for human dwelling. On average, every flat would house seven families as a “modus operandi” to avail alternate homes through government schemes, Karnik added.
Senior advocate Ram Apte for TMC said that the civic body had sent several demolition notices to the nine buildings in 2019 and 2021. However, the occupants had refused to vacate the same citing the 1998 GR, he added.
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