Outsource governance if you can’t act against illegal encroachments: Bombay HC tells BMC

Outsource governance if you can't act against illegal encroachments: Bombay HC tells BMC
The bench observed that it has become impossible to even walk on footpaths or pavements due to temporary structures, most of which are built with the help of local mafia or civic officials (Representational Image, Courtesy: Roycin Miranda)

The Bombay High Court on Wednesday rapped the BMC for failing to take action against illegal encroachments on roads and pavements in the city.

It also asked the civic body to “put its house in order or outsource the municipal governance”.

The remarks were made by a division bench of justices S C Dharmadhikari and R I Chagla which was hearing public interest litigation (PIL) on the issue of illegal structures on pavements in Andheri.

The bench noted that despite repeated orders, the BMC failed to initiate an action or ensure that those structures do not crop up again.

“The corporation needs to put its house in order or outsource the whole municipal governance… that will be the best thing to do,” the judges said.

Although the BMC lawyer argued that the body has demolished all illegal encroachments and structures, petitioner S G P Barnes said the temporary structures have come up again.

“We fail to understand why you have not been able to deal with this menace. Because of the civic body’s failure to address these issues and other complaints raised by the public, people are forced to approach courts seeking orders,” the bench said.

“The BMC does not do its job forcing people to approach courts. The high court has been reduced to a ward office,” Justice Dharmadhikari said.

The bench said that it has become impossible to even walk on footpaths and pavements due to the temporary structures, most of which are built with the help of local mafia or municipal officials.

The court has directed the BMC to submit a compliance report within two weeks.