The Bombay High Court last week directed the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai and Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply & Transport to restore the electricity and water supply at the Shahid Bhagat Singh Co-operative Housing Society, a dilapidated building located in Andheri East where 23 families are staying and are unable to shift out as some positive Covid-19 cases have been found in the area which has now been "sealed."
Justice AA Sayed heard the writ petition filed by the society and granted temporary relief to the 23 families staying in the said building after accepting a statement made by their lawyer that they will vacate the premises, four days after lockdown is lifted.
In 2018, then MCGM Chief Ajoy Mehta had directed officials to cut water and electricity supply of a total of 104 dilapidated buildings to force residents to vacate the premises in order to avoid any serious accident.
Advocate Anand Jondhale appeared for the petitioner society and Advocate Rajesh Patil for MCGM.
Jondhale pointed out that presently these 23 families are staying in the subject building without electricity and water supply. Moreover, since the entire area has been 'sealed' because of some positive COVID-19 cases that have been found in the area and it is impossible for these families to shift out in the present scenario.
"In the facts and circumstances of the case and inasmuch as the Counsel for the Petitioner states that as soon as the lock-down period is over, the said 23 families shall vacate their respective premises and the building within four days from the date of lifting of the lock-down, the Respondents - MCGM & BEST are directed to restore the electricity and water supply immediately, upon the Petitioner-Society to paying necessary charges. The statement of the learned Counsel is recorded as an undertaking of the Petitioner-Society and the 23 families to the Court."
However, the Court clarified that the petitioner society would not be entitled to seek any extension of time.
Justice Sayed observed-
"This order is passed in view of the extraordinary situation prevailing and shall not absolve the PetitionerSociety and its members of being proceeded against for breach of undertaking given by them in the year 2018. It is also made clear that since the building in question is in a completely dilapidated state, the 23 families would reside in the said building during the lock-down period at their own risk."
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