The Bombay High Court on Thursday suggested the Commissioner of Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai and Commissioners of Municipal Corporations across the State of Maharashtra to consider issuing a general directive not to demolish, evict or hold auctions of attached properties in light of the pandemic of corona virus.
The division bench of Justice SJ Kathawalla and Justice RI Chagla while hearing a writ petition filed by A1 Fateh CHSL stayed the demolition of the structure in question until March 31 and asked the Corporation to consider issuing such a directive for a specified period with a caveat that if the Corporations in some extraordinary cases, for compelling reasons are required to demolish or auction properties they shall be at liberty to move the appropriate courts and obtain necessary orders.
Advocate Vishal Kanade appeared on behalf of the petitioners.
After staying the said demolition, Court noted that in view of the current situation created by the global pandemic – corona virus (COVID-19), the Courts are taking up only urgent matters between 12.00 noon to 2.00 p.m.
The bench observed-
"The Courts are also trying to ensure that even during these two hours the Courtrooms should not be overcrowded and only individuals whose presence is absolutely necessary in their respective matters, should be allowed to be present in the Courtrooms. Most of the urgent matters pertain to seeking restraint orders against the Municipal Corporations from carrying out demolition, eviction and holding auctions of attached properties."
Thus, the aforesaid suggestion was made to the civic bodies in the state along with MCGM.
Court also directed the petitioner's advocate to ensure hand delivery of copy of the order to the Municipal Commissioners of the Corporations.
Earlier in the week, during the hearing of bond holders' challenge to the YES Bank restructuring scheme proposed by RBI, a sizable crowd was inside Justice Kathawalla's courtroom and even in subordinate courts crowds have been reported both inside and inside the courts.
In the past couple of weeks, High Court has taken several steps to ensure minimal human contact amid widespread public anxiety over the pandemic of Covid-19.