MUMBAI: The Bombay high court on Thursday directed the BMC to be entirely transparent and place online all circulars issued by its building proposal department. The circulars are for premiums to be charged from developers who seek condonation of mandatory open space requirements. The HC also directed the BMC to file an affidavit to show it uniformly sought premium based on its circulars.
The functioning of the department has to be "entirely transparent'' said a bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice B P Colabawalla who directed that as and when the circulars are issued they ought to be put online and not at a later date. The HC also said directions by the state government to the BMC on building permissions, must also be on the website.
The HC asked the BMC counsel V A Thorat who gave a presentation on open space deficiency if all circulars were online. Neil Mandevia, counsel for Mayfair Housing, a private developer, said some, not all, were online. The developer filed a bunch of petitions in the HC against the demand of hefty and additional premium by the BMC to give a go-by to compulsory open spaces. A group of developers had moved the HC to challenge an amendment to the Maharashtra Regional Town Planning Act that allows levying such premium under the development control regulations. There is no legal basis to charge such premium, said Mandevia. "DC regulations need to be amended first, instead the BMC is relying on a bunch of circulars which are merely administrative instructions signed by the municipal chief that decide how the premium can be calculated,'' he said.
Thorat said that the BMC has discretionary powers under the DC regulations and has for years been charging a premium to condone open space deficits. The HC issued notice to the state advocate general and posted the matter after four weeks. Developers seeking interim relief would be heard after a week.