Residents were earlier given time till May 31 to vacate
The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to stay the demolition of flats in Campa Cola Housing Society in Mumbai. The residents of the Society were earlier granted time till May 31 to vacate their premises and pave the way for demolition of the flats constructed in violation of building rules.
A vacation Bench of Justices J.S. Khehar and C. Nagappan in a brief order said, “We are of the view that the instant petition is misconceived and not maintainable. Prayer to injunct demolition of the buildings till the curative petition is heard is rejected and petition dismissed.”
The Bench expressed dismay over the manner in which the application was listed. Justice Khehar told senior counsel Raju Ramachandran, appearing for Campa Cola Residents Association, “Don’t take the court for a ride. What was told to us was that some people were being thrown out of their houses and we decided to hear the matter. You should have mentioned that this was a matter [pertained to Campa Cola residents] which was debated so much.”
Mr. Ramachandran, while tendering apology, said he was not counsel who mentioned it. Giving a sequence of events, he said certain new facts came to light through the Right to Information Act and a curative petition was filed on May 15 listing these facts. The present petition was filed the next day. He said the RTI information indicated that there was an exercise of compounding (the violation) by levying a penalty of Rs. 6 lakh, which was paid by the developer. However, this penalty was enhanced to Rs. 11 lakh keeping in view the increase in land value and the enhanced amount was not paid.
He said out of the 102 apartments in the Society in danger of being demolished, 86 flats could be saved if compounding was allowed. He said this was a humanitarian problem and the court should treat the present application as a “mercy petition.”
Justice Khehar said, “We were not even told that the same grounds had been declined earlier. Every single case that comes to court is a humanitarian problem. Things must come to end. If there is an order you must obey.”
The apex court, on November 19, 2013 asked the flat owners in the Society to vacate their houses by May 31 as no specific proposal could be worked out to provide them space in the compound for construction of new building. The present application sought a direction to the authorities to adhere to their decisions of regularising the construction and to stay the demolition.