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"Prima Facie Construction Unauthorised": Bombay High Court Dismisses Petition For Regularisation Of Narayan Rane's Bungalow

Sharmeen Hakim
23 Jun 2022 11:33 AM GMT
Set Back For Union Minister Narayan Rane, Bombay High Court Dismisses Petition For Regularisation Illegal Portions Of Juhu Bungalow
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In a set-back for Union Minister Narayan Rane, the Bombay High Court on Thursday dismissed a petition seeking regularisation of illegal portions of the plush 8 storey building, in Juhu, where the BJP leader resides with his family.

The court, however, granted a six week stay on the order to approach the Supreme Court.

A division bench of Justices RD Dhanuka and MG Sewlikar passed the order on a petition filed by a company called Kaalkaa Real Estates Private, which was amalgamated and merged with a company owned by the Ranes.

The company challenged the BMC's order rejecting their application for regularisation of the alleged illegal structures and also sought to stay orders of demolition in the interim.

"Since (prima facie) construction carried out is totally unauthorised, the question of political rivalry does not arise," the bench observed.

BMC alleged that Rane has utilised three times the approved permissible area of approximately 750 square meters and utilised built up area of 2244 sq meters.

Senior Advocate Milind Sathe for the company argued that objections refusing regularisation are frivolous and malicious and not in consonance with section 44 of the Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning Act. "This is all engineered at the behest of a particular political party, particularly the CM," he claimed.

He argued that that the corporation should have considered the FSI available on the date the application was made for regularisation ie. Under DCR 2034 and not at FSI 1, as per the earlier DCR. Sathe sought to separate the leased land of over 1178 sq meters from the total plot of 2010 sq meters.

However, Senior Advocate Aspi Chinoy for the BMC said that as per the property card the total area of the plot is 2209 sq meters and there is no automatic sub-division between the plots just because there was a lease deed in the company's favour.

"The total plot area is 2209 sq meters and 1178 is leased out to him. Company's (Narayan Rane) plans were approved for built up area 745 sq meters and the remaining 400 sq meters is used by the other buildings on the plot." He said adding that Rane's built up area was 2244 sq meters.

He added "He built up three times the sanction area. All this talk of victimization would look good but then don't build 3 times the sanction area. Spaces that were supposed to be left open were used to increase the built-up area and the outer shell remained the same."

The bench observed the plots cannot be considered separately for FSI.

"We are not inclined to accept the contention of Mr Sathe. Merely because lease is granted in favour of petitioner 1 (Rane) there is no automatic sub-division of the plot. The BMC rightly considered application. In our view Mr Chinoy rightly submitted there is no sub division of the plot."

"We are afraid we cannot accept Mr Sathe's contention that the FSI for the entire larger plot should have been considered. Despite OC granted in 2013 additional area was developed."

Background

In March 2022 the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) had issued orders against Aadish Bungalow in Juhu asking the owners/occupiers to demolish illegal extensions to the bungalow on their own; in case the owners/occupiers fail to do so, the BMC would go ahead and carry out the said demolition and recover the cost from the owners/occupiers.

In March, The Bombay High Court restrained Mumbai's civic body from taking action against the bungalow in which Union Minister Narayan Rane lives with his family till an application to regularise the alterations is decided and for three weeks thereafter.

The company made an application for regularisation of portions of the premises alleged to be in contravention by making a payment, while contending that there were no contraventions.

The company contended the entire premise was within the permissible floor-space-index limit – permissible limit of area that can be constructed on a particular piece of land.

The BMC rejected the application on June 3. And Rane approached the court against the order.

Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Bom) 229

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