The High Court of Bombay today in its ordinances had given instructions to the Collector, Mumbai Suburban, to demolish portions of 48 skyscrapers near the Mumbai International Airport, in compliance with the orders of the DGCA as reported by the ANI news agency. Portions built above a certain height must be demolished according to the order of the Bombay High Court.
A division bench by Chief Judge Dipankar Datta and Judge M S Karnik also stopped the collector for trying to transfer responsibility for the demolition to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and said the collector must do something about this “threat” ( obstacles near the airport). The court also suggested that authorities disconnect electricity and water from buildings that have been notified of height violations.
The high court was hearing a public interest (PIL) litigation filed by attorney Yashwant Shenoy raising concerns about the dangers posed by skyscrapers near Mumbai airport. He was informed by Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL) that periodic surveys are carried out and in 2010 a total of 137 obstacles (buildings / structures) were identified. Of these 137 buildings, final orders were approved in 63 cases.
Of these, appeals were filed in nine cases and six buildings were respected. The remaining 48 structures are to be demolished immediately as no compliance or appeal has been filed, the court was told. The bench on Friday also pulled up the debt collector for shirking his responsibilities and for stating in an affidavit filed with the high court that the demolition must be carried out by the BMC as it is the Mumbai planning authority. .
The HC noted that there is no law preventing the collector from starting the demolition process and found that it was up to the collector to proceed with such action. “It is the mandate of the law that after the final orders for the demolition of a structure have been approved, it is up to the collector to take action and demolish those structures that are causing an obstacle to the take-off and landing of planes at the airport,” he said. Supreme Court President Datta.
The court noted that MIAL had notified the collector’s office of the 48 structures in November 2017 itself. “The attempt to transfer responsibility to BMC is clear. We are not impressed by such an attitude. We do not approve of the collector transferring responsibility to BMC,” the court said.
“We direct the debt collector to file an affidavit indicating the proposed steps to demolish the 48 structures,” the court ordered, publishing the matter for a further hearing on August 22. The court said that the BMC and any other authorities such as the police will have to render assistance to the collector for the demolition. The counter said it would approve orders regarding the other obstacles identified by MIAL from 2010 to the present following the filing of the collector’s response affidavit on Aug.22.
“Those buildings that have been warned … are starting to disconnect their electricity and water supplies,” Supreme Court Chief Justice Datta noted. MIAL lawyer Vikram Nankani told the court that further investigations were also carried out after the 2010 investigation and many other structures for demolition were identified.