Mumbai Municipal Corporation (MCGM) Laws
In a city with rampant illegal and unauthorised constructions, the provisions of Section 515A amendment was aimed to enable the designated officer of the Municipal Corporation to take action against unauthorized constructions without intervention by way of stay usually obtained from city civil courts. However considering the number of cases being moved for obtaining protection in respect of the such action of demolition under Sec. 351 of the BMC Act and to avoid a situation of an aggrieved person being remediless, the Bombay High Court ruled that the civil court must consider facts and circumstances in each suit before deciding that it is barred from questioning the BMC's power to issue notices or directions regarding unauthorized constructions. They said unless the plea of ousting the jurisdiction based on Section 515A is considered in each case, the civil court's jurisdiction is not ousted. "To non-suit somebody and prevent him from approaching a civil court merely because there is a statutory bar is not a correct understanding of the law". Also, writ remedy under Article 226 may be invoked in a fit case. The powers of demolition under Sec. 351 of the BMC Act are typically delegated to the Assistant Engineer (Building & Factory) of the concerned Ward. In many cases it has been observed that these powers are being misused to harass innocent owners/ occupants at the behest of landlords, builders, societies and alike etc. Considering that obtaining a stay in view of the bar of Sec. 515A may be an uphill task for a person otherwise these notices are issued. There are several circumstances in which such notice of demolition can be challenged. It is not uncommon that show cause call upon the occupants to produce authentic documents such as sanctioned building plans on one hand to justify legality of the structure and on the other hand the corporation itself being the sanctioning authority does not either refer to such document before initiating such proposed demolition action or share documents promptly under RTI. On may invoke the RTI Act to procure information, which again may or may not be help, in view of the limited timeframe within which the action under Sec. 351 is taken as opposed to 30 day time under prescribed under the RTI. Pursuant to another direction of the Bombay High Court, the corporation issued a circular also prescribe a mechanism for dealing with complaints with regards to complaints Grievance Redressal Committee. Complaints before the Grievance Redresel Committee (GRC) remaining pending, whilst, the circular prescribes that there shall be no stay on the action of demolition. In view of the inaction and omission of the concerned designated officers of the corporation to act in respect of the complaints of genuine illegal and unauthorised construction, there are various provisions under the BMC Act, Handbook and Circulars of issued by the Corporation where disciplinary and criminal action can be initiated against the erring officers. We actively assist clients in matters pertaining to unauthorised construction under the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation Act (BMC Act) and the Maharashtra Regional Town Planning Act (MRTP Act). We are proactive in challenging frivolous action initiated under Sec. 381 of the BMC Act under the guise of nuisance to harass some innocent people. Clients are often constrained to urgently move court to either procure a stay or set aside the frivolous action initiated under Sec. 351 and / or Sec. 354 of the BMC Act by the designated officers of the municipal corporation. We understand the plight of innocent individuals / occupants harassed in abuse of powers and process of law by some officers of the Corporation, we stand committed to assist clients in such matters.