Campa Cola society: How the stand-off ended
The Mumbai Police on Wednesday broke down the main gate of the Campa Cola housing society to start the demolition of unauthorised flats.
Mumbai: 11:54 pm: Additional BMC Commissioner Mohan Adtani said that in the last Supreme Court order there was nothing about taking action against the builder. "We will follow the SC order. We were only implementing the SC order and there is nothing personal against the complex. Proceedings at the complex have been stopped. We will wait for the order at 2 pm and then look at the future course of action," he said.
11:38 am: The Supreme Court has directed the BMC not to carry out demolition till May 31, 2014. So the residents have got seven more months to vacate the society. The apex court took suo moto cognizance of the matter and passed an order after media reports on the demolition. The court will pass a detailed order at 2 pm on action to be taken against the builder and relocation of the residents.
11:35 am: Union Minister Milind Deora has warned Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan of dire consequences if the legal opinion is not taken in the matter. "The force being used today is very wrong. These are innocent people, they are not violent. I will take this issue to the Centre and would complain it to the Congress's high command if proper action won't be taken on it," said Milind Deora.
He also added that he will complain to Congress President Sonia Gandhi if Chavan fails to act.
A day after Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) officials failed to enter into the Campa Cola compond, the Mumbai Police on Wednesday broke down the main gate of the housing society. The BMC has started the eviction forcibly. There have also been clashes between the residents of the society and the BMC officials.
Four residents of Campa Cola society have been served notice under the Section 149 (obstructing a government servants work) on Wednesday. This the second notice served to the residents of the society in two days time.
Meanwhile, the state government has said that is is only following the apex court's order.
The society is locked in a stand-off between BMC officials and the residents after the municipal authorities visited the area to demolish the illegal houses in the society after the Supreme Court deadline ended on Monday. On October 1, the Supreme Court had ordered the residents of over 90 illegal flats to vacate their houses by November 11.
The residents stopped the BMC officials outside the society, locked the main entrance gate of the compound and shouted slogans against the demolition on Tuesday.
With no end in sight, Union Minister of State (IT) Milind Deora said he will take take a legal opinion from the Attorney General on the Campa Cola society case. "We will take a legal opinion from the Attorney General of India. Nothing is ruled out. Last night a delegation met the Chief Minister and he didn't rule anything out. I am supporting these residents from the day one. I am a local representative from this area and they have elected me into power. I am not criticising the Supreme Court order. I have already told the residents they should abide by the order. This is not a part of our strategy," said Deora.
Only 10 out of 96 unauthorised flats in the Campa Cola society have been vacated till now.
The BMC had issued eviction notices to residents of the illegal floors under Section 488 of the Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act last week warning them not to obstruct the civic staff when they initiate demolition.
The residents of the Campa Cola compound have had a long legal fight since 2005 when they first went to court for water connection and regularisation and the court ordered the then municipal commissioner to take time-bound action on the case.
The municipal commissioner instead of taking action against the builders served demolition notices to about 100 flats above the fifth floor. The builders of the society - PSB Construction, Yusuf Patel and BK Gupta - were granted a permission to construct the residential towers of not more than five floors.
They, however, went ahead and flouted the norms by constructing 35 illegal floors.
The demolition notices were challenged in the civil court which granted a stay. The residents, however, lost the case in the High Court in 2011 and subsequently in the Supreme Court in February 2013 when it refused to regularise the structure.
The BMC then issued a demolition notice on April 27 asking the occupants of the illegal flats to vacate within 48 hours. However, the Supreme Court intervention ensured that the residents got a five month window to vacate their houses.