Demolition of Kangana’s Building Smacks of Malafide- Bombay HC

Bombay High Court has stayed the demolition of Kangana Ranaut Mumbai Office.

Today, a Bench of Justice S.J. KATHAWALLA and R. I. CHAGLA, while considering the Petition filed by Kangana Ranaut (Actress), restrained the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai, from carrying out any further demolition qua the said Premises.

The matter came before the court through mention, and it was pleaded that
as a result of a fall-out with certain influential people operating in the
Administration and the Government, she has received a Notice dated
7th September, 2020, under Section 354A of the Mumbai Municipal
Corporation Act, 1888 (`the Act’) from the Executive Engineer,

H/West Ward of the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (`MCGM’),
claiming that he has been satisfied that the Petitioner has unlawfully commenced,
undertaken or carried out erection of building/erection of work, as described in the
Schedule to the said notice. She was granted 24 hours to reply to the aforesaid notice
and restrained from carrying out any work and if she fails to reply and produce documents
within 24 hours, MCGM shall under Section 354A of the Act, without any further notice,
cause the said building or work to be pulled down at the risks and cost of the Petitioner.

The Court observed that

the sketch shown in the Notice is extremely unclear and the ‘
unauthorized’ works cannot at all be seen in this sketch. The Court deprecated the conduct
of MCGM by recording in the order that: 

“We find the above conduct of the MCGM highly deplorable, more so since the MCGM was well aware that a Writ Petition would be filed by the Petitioner before this Court at any time, and an application seeking urgent orders will be moved by the Petitioner, and MCGM had therefore filed a Caveat before this Court. We, therefore, informed Senior Advocate Shri Sakhare that such conduct on the part of the MCGM is totally unacceptable to the Court.”

The Court recorded:

“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.”

The Court further observed:

“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.”

The case has been listed tomorrow at 3 PM

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