Bombay High Court Refuses to interfere in BDD Chawls Redevelopment Scheme The Bombay High Court refused to quash the Public Interest Litigation (in short PIL) filed for redevelopment of the Bombay Development Directorate (in short BDD) Chawls at N.M. Joshi Marg Naigaon and Worli in Mumbai observing that the projects have received all the necessary environmental clearances. Mr. Aspi...
Access the exclusive LEGAL ERAStories,Editorial and Expert Opinion
Bombay High Court Refuses to interfere in BDD Chawls Redevelopment Scheme
The Bombay High Court refused to quash the Public Interest Litigation (in short PIL) filed for redevelopment of the Bombay Development Directorate (in short BDD) Chawls at N.M. Joshi Marg Naigaon and Worli in Mumbai observing that the projects have received all the necessary environmental clearances.
Mr. Aspi Chinoy learned Senior Advocate for the petitioners- Shirish B. Patel and Sulakshana Mahajan submitted that present public interest litigation impugns Respondent Nos. 1- The State of Maharashtra and 2's- Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority plans for the redevelopment of over 15,000 tenements in the old BDD Chawls situated in N.M. Joshi Marg, Naigon and Worli.
It was submitted that the residents/occupants of the Chawls were regular tenants and not slum dwellers and trespassers. In December 2016, Development Control Regulation (in short DCR) 33(9)(B) was introduced providing for redevelopment of the chawls which were in dilapidated conditions. According to the petitioners, rehabilitation buildings were grouped closely together with limited access to light and air. Substantial portions of the land were said to be used to build additional sale buildings which are said to be much higher and have virtually unrestricted access to light and air. This will enable Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (in short MHADA) to make a huge profit of Rs. 15000 crore at the cost of life, health, and well-being of the original occupants.
Petitioners quoted a report concerning the link between restricted access to light and air in redevelopment projects and the occurrence of tuberculosis. The present residents would be deprived of adequate light and air would violate Article 21 of the Constitution of India.
The division bench comprising of acting Chief Justice S.V. Gangapurwala and Justice Santosh Chapalgaonkar remarked that it is not an expert in planning and designing of houses, rather it can only consider whether the constructions to be done were in consonance with the development control regulations and rules. "…it has not been demonstrated by the Petitioners as to how the redevelopment project of the rehabilitation buildings is not in tune with the provisions of the DCR provisions," the Court stated.
The Court was satisfied that the Environmental Impact Assessment (in short EIA) and Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment reports, prepared by experts, demonstrated that light and ventilation within the rehabilitation buildings were complied with the norms.
The High Court in its judgment asserted that "the environmental clearance given by the Competent Authorities, does not demonstrate that the construction activity is against the provisions of any rules and regulations in force. The contention of the Petitioners cannot be accepted."
The Court acknowledged that the Petitioners may be knowledgeable in that field however; it would be a case of word against word. The Court was of the opinion that it would not substitute its view for the view of expert, and more particularly, there was nothing on record to even remotely suggest that the plans sanctioned and the redevelopment being carried out is against the provisions of Development Control and Promotion Regulation-2034 (in short) DCPR 2034 or against the provisions contained in Regulations of DCR 33 (9) (B).
The Court emphasized that the socio-economic environmental study carried out by the state provides that during the construction, ambient air control, exhaust from DG set, noise level, water analysis, and sewage analysis shall be regularly done. However, the court however, emphasized that the construction must be carried out strictly in accordance with the provisions of DCPR 2034 and the rules and regulation operating and holding the field.
The Court discerned upon the reports about the occurrence of Tuberculosis in respect of absence of light, air and density and held that it was not possible to conclude that the construction activity undertaken was flawed, as the said construction did not demonstrate to be against the permissions or environmental clearances, ruled no interference could be initiated.