Mid-day Impact: BMC chief summoned over inaction against Gorai resort
The Maharashtra State Human Rights Commission (MSHRC) has recently issued summons to the BMC commissioner and five other officers, for not implementing the Bombay High Court order to demolish the unauthorised Sun Beach resort at Gorai, that has been constructed in violation of the Coastal Regulatory Zone (CRZ) norms.
The commission has sought a reply from the civic administration on an affidavit on the same before the next hearing. It had mentioned mid-day’s reports on the resort. The next hearing is scheduled for October 20. mid-day is in possession of the summon order issued by the commission. On April 26, the Bombay High Court paved the way for demolition of Sun Beach resort. But the R Central ward of BMC did not act and the resort business continues as usual.
Complainant goes to MSHRC
As the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) failed to implement the HC order, the complainant approached the MSHRC seeking action against civic officials. In its order dated October 3, Justice K K Tated, chairperson of the MSHRC, instructed his office to issue summons to six BMC officials including commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal. Bhagyashree Kapse (deputy municipal commissioner), Sandhya Nandekar (assistant municipal commissioner, R Central Ward), designated officer Dharmendra Kantharia (R Central Ward) and two other engineers from the local ward office were also summoned by the commission’s office.
The MSHRC, while issuing the summons, mentioned that the complainant followed up with the BMC several times for implementation of the HC order.
In fact, mid-day too, had published about illegal construction. MSHRC further stated that if someone carries out unauthorised construction it definitely affects the human rights of the citizen from the locality. “BMC has been asked to hold a fact finding inquiry and file an affidavit in reply before the commission,” the order added.
BJP too had questioned
The BJP had questioned why the BMC did not implement the HC order. BJP Mumbai Secretary Vivekanand Gupta, citing the union minister Narayan Rane and actress Kangana Ranaut cases, had said BMC officials acted with alacrity in acting against these two. But he said the same civic administration is silent when it comes to acting against illegal structures constructed in violation of CRZ.
The other side
BMC is probably unaware of past HC orders. Nandekar said, “We have demolished it twice. Now we have again arranged for demolition. It will be carried out soon. We checked with the Building Proposal Department. It has rejected the proposal. The hotelier had approached the BP department seeking regularisation of the structure.
In March, a Bombay High Court bench of Justices Girish Kulkarni and R N Laddha declined to entertain a plea by a Kalyan-Dombivli hotelier who sought orders to restrain the civic body from demolishing illegal structures and allowing him to apply for regularisation. “Any such course of action would amount to putting a premium on illegal construction and/or encouraging unauthorised construction,” the court stated, according to news reports.
In April 2022, mid-day was the first to report on Sun Beach Resort carrying out construction, allegedly in violation of civic norms and CRZ rules. Post this report, BMC inspected and served it a notice for unauthorised construction. To save the resort, its owner also approached Bombay HC challenging the order of a lower court. But the HC too dismissed the appeal.