The Bombay High Court has today reserved its judgment in a plea filed by the Bollywood actress Kangana Ranaut challenging the demolition of her property by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).
The bench comprising of Justices SJ Kathawalla and RI Chagla proceeded to reserve its verdict in the matter after the parties confirmed that their written submissions will be filed today itself. Senior Advocate Aspi Chinoy with Advocate Joel Carlos appeared for BMC. Senior Advocate Anil Sakhare appeared for NC Bhagywant Laate, the impleaded officer of BMC. Advocate Pradeep Thorat appeared for Shiv Sena spokesperson Sanjay Raut.
Earlier, on 9th September, actress Kangana Ranaut has approached the high court seeking to declare the demolition of a part of her bungalow in Pali Hills by the BMC, as illegal and also sought the court to direct the Corporation to pay a compensation amount of Rs. 2 Crores for the damages.
Advocate Birendra Saraf who appeared for Ranaut had alleged that the BMC carried out the demolition out of malice following a comment she made against the Mumbai police that irked the Shiv Sena-led government in Maharashtra. He further referred to the administrative order of the Court by which all authorities were directed to proceed slowly in terms of actions pertaining to eviction, demolition, and dispossession amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Meanwhile, on 10th September the BMC through senior counsel Aspi Chinoy and advocate Joel Carlos had told the court that Ranaut had been carrying out “substantial alterations” in her Bandra property “contrary to sanctioned plan” and its action of demolition of these structures was justified and without any “malafide”. They further alleged that despite making illegal structural changes, Ranaut had approached the court for relief.
Subsequently, on 15th September, Ranaut amended her plea and sought Rs. 2 crores as damages for BMC’s action. Nonetheless, on 18 September, the BMC told HC that Ranaut’s claims for compensation for the partial demolition of her Pali Hill property were “baseless” and “bogus”, which was later denied by Ranaut.
The court sought to know why the BMC had invoked Section 354 (A) of the Mumbai Municipal Corporation (MMC) Act, pertaining to issuance of a “stop work” notice for an ongoing construction or other work at a site, and not Section 351 that pertains to “completed unauthorized work” but prescribes giving enough notice to the owner of the property to file a reply.