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Civic bodies to get more power to stop illegal constructions

Bombay High Court

Mumbai: Maharashtra government today told the Bombay High Court that it was planning to amend the law to give the power to municipal corporations to stop illegal constructions forthwith without any prior notice.

Nitin Kareer, Principal Secretary, Urban Development department, informed the division bench of Justices A S Oka and V L Achliya that the government proposed to amend the Maharashtra Municipal Corporation Act and Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning Act in the winter session of legislature.

“By the amendment, the local civic body will have the power to physically stop the work of a building which is being constructed without permissions, take possession of the land and initiate demolition without issuing notice. A grievance redressal mechanism will also be set up,” he said.

The High Court, which was hearing a bunch of public interest litigations on the issue of illegal constructions, said “there should also be a dedicated police force to assist the civic body during demolition drives. Time and again we are told that the local police refuse to provide security.
“An effective mechanism should also be set up by which people should not be allowed to occupy an illegal building. When people are allowed to occupy, various complications arise and the Corporation is forced to take a humane approach,” the court said.

Kareer added that the government was also examining if water and power supply to unauthorised buildings can be stopped.

The court asked the government to file an affidavit on the proposed amendments and other measures and adjourned the hearing to October 15.

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