The answer is a clear No. The question is pertinent in the context of the Campa Cola development in Mumbai where the Supreme Court has ordered demolition of seven buildings and asking residents to leave the premises.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan has asked residents of the society to comply with the order, and has promised them to look at possible legal solutions to the problem.
BoomNews’s show #IndiaHangout discussed the issue with Divya Srinivas, freelance journalist and Campa Cola resident, Abhimanyu Chopra, Advocate, Gaggar & Associates and Alok Prasanna Kumar, senior resident fellow, Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy.
Srinivas said the residents have already complied with the order. “BMC has cut our power supply, water and gas. So, how can anybody live there? We have moved out but we have our belongings there. All we are asking now is allow us to rebuild on the 67,000 sq.ft that is legal so that we can have our own homes.”
She added that the residents have nothing against demolishing 20,000 sq.ft which is illegal.
Alok Kumar was of the view that residents approached the court that ruled against them. “Once SC has ruled on a case, that should be end of the matter. In 99.99% cases, Supreme Court will not change its order. ” “You have to follow the Supreme Court order,” Chopra added.
Kumar felt that the court may modify the implementation of the order. “For example, in the Sahara case, they are being given time to pay and implement the order.”
Srinivas felt that Maharashtra CM Chavan could have overwritten the order by an ordinance “but he chose not to do it. It could be because there are 56,000 such buildings across Mumbai. Where are we going to get a similar flat in Worli for less than Rs 7-8 crore?”
Ayaz Memon felt the Supreme Court may grant more time to Campa Cola residents only on humanitarian grounds. “Extension was done on humanitarian grounds, it can be done again only after implementing the order,” Chopra said.
Srinivas wanted to know how the Government could over-rule the Supreme Court order on dance bars. Kumar said the Government move on the issue would not stand up to court scrutiny.
Srinivas had the last word: “Seven buildings did not come up overnight. Violations happened a long time ago. The builders are dead, why are we being penalised? All we are asking is – can we rebuild 67,000 sq. ft?”