Maradu flats and Mumbai’s illegal constructions; the different faces of SC and government
Kochi: Maradu and Mumbai are showing two different faces of the Supreme Court. The SC bench led by justice Arun Mishra is firm on its stance that the apartment complexes in Maradu must be demolished.
However, a bench led by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi patiently heard the case pertaining to the illegal constructions in Mumbai. After initial hearing, the CJI sent notices to the opposing parties in the case as well.
There are around two-and-a-half lakh illegal constructions in Mumbai from small buildings to multi-storeyed apartment complexes. The Bombay High Court had taken a stance that all the illegal constructions must be removed. Moreover, Bombay HC took the stance dismissing Maharashtra government’s amendment to legalise the illegal constructions.
However, the Maharashtra government was not ready to implement the HC order. They filed an appeal against the HC order and it reached the SC bench headed by the CJI.
The constructions are illegal, acknowledged the Maharashtra government. But the HC order must be nullified and the amendment must be legalised, the state government pleaded in the SC. The CJI agreed that a detailed hearing will be held.
The case shows the varying approach of the SC and the Maharashtra government. Maharashtra government took a stance that not one of the illegal buildings will be demolished. The state government said that those who reside and work in them cannot be left on the streets.
The Maharashtra government was firm on its stance that it would not put its people in distress. Hence it decided to introduce the amendment to legalise the illegal constructions. The Maharashtra government is awaiting SC’s verdict on the matter.
In the Maradu issue however, both the Kerala and Central governments took a different approach. SC ordered to demolish the Maradu flats for violating Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) rules. CRZ is a central government law. An amendment in it can legalise the constructions in Maradu and save the residents.
This was suggested by legal experts but the central government is not ready for an amendment and the Kerala government has not been willing to submit a recommendation in this regard.
So far, the central government is not a party in the Maradu flats case and hence the SC is unaware of its stance in the matter. However, that does not prevent the central government from introducing an amendment to save the residents of Maradu flats. But the point is that no political moves have been made to introduce such an amendment.
The flat owners are asking why can’t the Kerala government follow the footsteps of its Maharashtra counterpart. If the Kerala government is interested, it can seek the help of the central government to make amendments to CRZ rules. But the government is not interested in safeguarding us, says the flat owners.
On Friday, there was yet another appeal in the SC seeking not to demolish the Maradu flats. But justice Arun Mishra was not ready to consider it. The judge is firm on his stance that all illegal constructions in Maradu must be demolished.