The Bombay High Court while restraining the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai from carrying out any further demolition at Kangana Ranaut's residence in Bandra, observed that if the Corporation acted with similar swiftness about the numerous unauthorized constructions in the city, this city would have been a completely different place to live in.
Division bench of Justice SJ Kathawalla and Justice RI Chagla noted that the civic body started the demolition work within 24 hours of giving the notice seeking a reply when the 33-year-old actor is not even in the State. The bench observed-
"From the works set out in the Notice, it is clear beyond any doubt that the works which are 'unauthorised' have not come up overnight. However, all of a sudden, the Corporation appears to have overnight woken up from its slumber, issued Notice to the Petitioner, that too when she is out of the State, directing her to respond within 24 hours, and not granting her any further time, despite written request, and proceeding to demolish the said Premises upon completion of 24 hours. Though the manner in which the MCGM has proceeded to commence demolition work of the said Premises, prima facie does not appear to be bonafide and smacks of malafide, we are giving an opportunity to the MCGM to explain its stand / conduct on Affidavit by 3.00 p.m. tomorrow."
Although the writ petition filed by actor Kangana Ranaut was not listed, Advocate Rizwan Siddique mentioned the matter seeking urgent hearing and the bench obliged. It was alleged in the said petition that "as a result of a fall-out with certain influential people operating in the Administration and the Government", she (Kangana) has received a notice dated September 7, 2020, under Section 354A of the Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act, 1888 for unauthorized construction.
The said notice called upon Kangana to produce documentary evidence proving authorization of the said unauthorized work mentioned in the notice; to stop the erection of the said building/execution of the said work forthwith and to produce permission, if any, obtained from the MCGM, within 24 hours from the service of the notice. MCGM had already filed a caveat in the matter yesterday. So the hearing took place at 12:30 pm and the Advocate for the Petitioner was asked to give notice to the MCGM.
After perusing through the sketch of the alleged unauthorized works carried out at the site, Court said-
"The sketch shown in the Notice is extremely unclear and the 'unauthorized' works cannot at all be seen in this sketch."
Adv Siddique served his reply to the said notice to the concerned Executive Engineer (B&F) H/W Ward on the same day and recorded therein that the allegations made by the MCGM in the said Notice are false and the same shall be forthwith dealt with by the petitioner, who is expected to arrive in Mumbai on September 9, 2020 and requested for a minimum of 7 days to respond and address the concern raised in the said notice.
However at 11 am today, MCGM carried out the said demolition. Calling the MCGM's conduct deplorable, Court said-
"We cannot help but mention here that if the MCGM would act with similar swiftness qua the numerous unauthorized constructions in this City, the City would be a completely different place to live in."
Finally, restricting MCGM from carrying out any further demolition, the bench asked the Corporation to file an affidavit and placed the matter for hearing tomorrow at 3 pm.