Mumbai: Observing that the civic chief has the powers to remove the buildings or structures abutting roads that are to be widened, the Bombay High Court recently ordered the BMC to spell out by when would it complete the road widening near Ashish Talao in Chembur. HC said since the laws provide a regular road line then the roads in the city must be maintained accordingly.
A bench of Justices Satyaranjan Dharmadhikari and Riyaz Chagla said it is concerned only with the preservation of the regular line of roads in the city.
“We are concerned essentially with the preservation of regular line in public streets and that is an aspect covered by the provisions of the Mumbai Municipal Corporation (MMC) Act. If there is a regular line of the public street already prescribed, then, the Commissioner has the power to deal with a building abutting on a public street and within the regular line of such street. The building could be set back to a regular line of the street,” said Justice Dharmadhikari.
“Once there is a regular road line prescribed, then, the Commissioner has to ensure that the road is widened so as to meet the regular line. In other words, up to the regular line, if the road is required to be widened, then, that road or street must be widened and for that widening, obstacles and hurdles have to be removed,” the bench added.
The court further said if the obstacles are in the form of persons residing and carrying out business and claim to be there for decades together, “then, their rehabilitation is an issue, which cannot be mixed up with widening of the road. Such persons cannot resist widening of the road or the action that is required to be taken so as to maintain the regular line of a street.”
Justice Dharmadhikari added if such persons seek a rehabilitation package, then, they must satisfy the criteria and condition. “That rehabilitation would require a survey, etc to be undertaken but survey work should not delay the widening of the road, is our prima facie opinion,” the bench said.
The bench was dealing with public interest litigation filed way back in 2012 seeking widening of the road near Ashish Talao in Chembur. BMC had in an earlier hearing, claimed of the total 174 structures, which would be affected by road widening project, it has already demolished over 105 structures.
The bench was earlier given an impression the project would complete by December 2020, however, the assistant municipal commissioner of the M ward (Chembur) in his affidavit stated presently the body is conducting a physical demarcation of structures, which would be affected by the project.