The Bombay High Court Friday directed Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) not to demolish the shops of flower vendors at the Upendra Nagar building in Dadar (West) till further orders. The bench also asked petitioners, who sought relief from the court to stay the demolition, not to carry out any construction, or alteration of any nature, whatsoever without prior sanction of the BMC. Tenants of four of the 30 shops in the building approached the high court as demolition action was being initiated against them.
The bench was hearing pleas by tenants who sought relief after the BMC received a complaint from the Upendra Nagar Cooperative Society and initiated the demolition of alleged illegal structures.
The court directed the municipal corporation to remove a vehicle parked in the concerned premises without fail and asked the petitioners not to allow any encroachment in or around the property in question till further orders. It posted further hearing on the plea to December 5.
The petitioners have structures, including a stall board, projection box and decorative weather frame in the Upendra Nagar building on Senapati Bapat Marg. The plea said the subject premises are commercially utilised by the petitioner as the sole source of their livelihood – the sale of flowers in the Dadar flower market.
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A division bench of Justice R D Dhanuka and Justice Kamal R Khata on November 11 was hearing pleas by Rajesh Narayan Vartak, Mahendra Nathuram Salunkhe and others. The petitioners, through advocates Pradeep Thorat and Arjun Kadam, claimed the shops are registered under law and have been operating for the past 50 years. “The municipal corporation, without any prior notice, entered the flower market and initiated the forceful demolition. The corporation also tried to restrain the flower vendors from operating the market by placing vehicles and other obstructions,” the petitioners said.
The BMC counsel said the action was initiated only after it had received a complaint from the society and it was done as per procedure.
The petitioners said the municipal corporation illegally demolished the shutters of their stalls and they were forced to sell flowers in an open area in the premises of the building.
The bench directed the corporation to file a reply within two weeks and asked the petitioners to file a rejoinder a week thereafter. The bench said it would decide as to whether the BMC was entitled to initiate action for demolition and if so, under which provisions of law and whether any law was required to be followed for carrying out such demolition or not.