Sunday, 27 October 2019

Supreme Court: Court should not direct re-erection of illegal structure if it was demolished in violation of procedure

That brings us to the main issue before us. Is the writ court
justified in issuing a direction that since the building has been
demolished without following the procedure prescribed by law,
the petitioners before the High Court (Respondents before us) be
permitted to reconstruct the structure albeit using the same
material, and of the same dimensions, as existed earlier? The
second direction given is that before commencing of work of
reconstruction, the petitioner shall serve a notice to the

designated officer. It has further been observed by the High
Court that the reconstruction of the structure on the basis of its
order will confer no authenticity on the structure. The third
important direction of the High Court provides that if the original
structures were constructed without obtaining development
permission, the structures reconstructed pursuant to the orders
of the Court will also be construed to be constructed without
proper development permission. Hence the Corporation can
initiate action of demolition of the structures, after following the
law laid down in Sopan’s case (supra). We have been told that
this is the regular practice followed in the Bombay High Court,
throughout the State of Maharashtra.
15. We are constrained to observe that we cannot approve of
such directions. The High Court itself is aware that some of
these structures may have been constructed without permission.
If that be so, even if the demolition was carried out without giving
the second notice, why should the party who has violated the law
by raising the construction without obtaining permission be
permitted to raise another illegal structure which only has to be
razed to the ground, after following the procedure prescribed by

law? Why should the Nation’s wealth be misutilised and misused
for raising an illegal construction which eventually has to be
demolished?
16. We make it clear that we do not approve the action of the
Municipal Corporation or its officials in demolishing the
structures without following the procedure prescribed by law, but
the relief which has to be given must be in accordance with law
and not violative of the law. If a structure is an illegal structure,
even though it has been demolished illegally, such a structure
should not be permitted to come up again. If the Municipal
Corporation violates the procedure while demolishing the
building but the structure is totally illegal, some compensation
can be awarded and, in all cases where such compensation is
awarded the same should invariably be recovered from the
officers who have acted in violation of law. However, we again
reiterate that the illegal structure cannot be permitted to be reerected.
REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CIVIL APPEAL NO.7627 OF 2019

MUNICIPAL CORPORATION OF GREATER MUMBAI  Vs
M/S SUNBEAM HIGH TECH  DEVELOPERS PRIVATE LTD. 
Deepak Gupta, J.

Dated:October 24, 2019.

The issue involved in these appeals is whether if a
municipal corporation demolishes a structure in exercise of
powers vested in it but in violation of the procedure prescribed,
can the High Court direct the ‘owner/occupier’ of the building to
reconstruct the demolished structure?

2. The municipal corporations in the State of Maharashtra like
in any other part of the country are vested with the power to
demolish structures which violate the laws and have been built
without any building plans or in violation of the laws. The
exercise of the power of demolition which affects the property of
the citizens of this country must be exercised in an absolutely
fair and transparent manner. Rules in this regard must be
followed. At the same time, the Court has to balance the private
interest with the larger public interest. Cities and towns must be
well planned and illegal structures must be demolished. Rule of
law comprises not only of the principles of natural justice but
also provides that the procedure prescribed by law must be
followed. Rule of law also envisages that illegal constructions
which are constructed in violation of law must be demolished and
there can be no sympathy towards those who violate law.
3. Before we refer to the statutory provisions, we may make
reference to a judgment of the Bombay High Court which appears
to be the locus classicus on this subject, as far as the Bombay
High Court is concerned. In Sopan Maruti Thopte and
1AIR 1996 Bom 304

Bombay High Court referred to various provisions of law, and
thereafter issued the following directions :“
19. Hence, on the basis of the law as discussed above, it is
directed that after 1st May, 1996 the Bombay Municipal
Corporation or the Municipal Corporations constituted under
the B.P.M.C. Act would follow the following procedure before
taking action under Section 351 of the B.M.C. Act or under S.
260 of the B.P.M.C. Act.
(i) In every case where a notice under Section 351 of the
B.M.C. Act/under Sec. 260 of B.P.M.C. Act is issued to a
party 15 days’ time shall be given for submitting the
reply. In case the party to whom notice is issued sends
the reply with the documents, and shows cause, the
Municipal Commissioner or Deputy Municipal
Commissioner shall consider the reply and if no
sufficient cause is shown, give short reasons for not
accepting the contention of the affected party.
(ii) It would be open to the Commissioner to demolish the
offending structure 15 days after the order of the
Commissioner/Deputy Municipal Commissioner is
communicated to the affected person.
(iii) In case the staff of the Corporation detects the building
which is in the process of being constructed and/or
reconstructed and/or extended without valid permission
from the Corporation, it would be open to the
Commissioner to demolish the same by giving a short
notice of 24 hours after drawing a panchanama at the
site and also by taking photographs of such structure
and/or extension. The photographs should indicate the
date when the same were taken.
(iv) In case where the Municipal Corporation has followed
due process of law and demolished the unauthorised
structure and/or extension, if the same is reconstructed
without valid permission within a period of one year, it
would also be open to the Corporation to demolish the
same by giving a short notice of 24 hours.
(v) If the offending structure and/or extension which is
assessed by the Corporation for two years, notice shall
provide for 15 days’ time to show cause. If the Deputy
Municipal Commissioner comes to the conclusion that
he requires assistance of the party, he may give an oral
hearing if he deems fit and proper before passing the
order. It is made clear that oral hearing is not at all
compulsory but it is at the discretion of the authority.
(vi) In any other case the Corporation is directed to issue a
show cause notice in case of any structure and/or
extension other than those mentioned in clauses (i) to

(iv) above. The Corporation shall provide for 7 days’ time
to show cause in such a case.
20. In case the notice is issued under Sec. 478 of the B.P.M.C.
Act, 1949 and if the person has not complied with the
requisitions of the Commissioner, then it would be open to the
Commissioner to demolish the unauthorised structure after
expiry of 30 days of the period specified in the notice for
removal of such construction.
21. The Municipal Corporations in the State of Maharashtra
would follow the above directions so as to avoid unnecessary
litigation.”
After issuing these directions the Court also issued a word of
caution to courts not to grant interim injunctions protecting
illegal constructions from demolition. We may refer to the
following observations:“
24. In our view, passing interim orders indiscriminately
and without apparent and due application of mind, which
has the effect of allowing the plaintiff to continue to enjoy
the fruits of his illegal actions including unauthorised
construction tends to lower the Court’s prestige and clearly
undermines the Rule of Law.
xxxx xxxx xxxx
28. Considering the aforesaid decisions it should be borne
in mind before issuance of an injunction that it is a
discretionary and an equitable relief. It is not mandatory
that for mere asking such relief should be given. It is not a
charity at the cost of public. However, we make it clear that
the procedure established by law has to be followed by the
public authorities, whether it be the State or a local body,
including the Municipal Corporations. At the same time,
the procedural lapses, unintentional or intentional, which
do not seriously affect the substantive rights of a person,
ought not to result in ad interim orders which protect
illegality having already been committed by the plaintiff and
to give licence of continuing fruits of such illegality for
years. Violators of law should not liberally be allowed to
take protection of Court of law by obtaining ad interim
injunctions which have the effect of continuing such
violation.”

Statutory Provisions
4. The relevant provisions to deal with the issue in hand are
covered under Chapter 12 of The Mumbai Municipal
Corporation Act [Bom. III of 1888] (hereinafter referred to as
‘the MMC Act’). Section 337 of the MMC Act provides that
before erecting any building, notice in this behalf has to be
given to the Commissioner of the Municipal Corporation. The
phrase ‘to erect a building’ not only means erecting a new
building but also includes within its ambit reerection
of any
building by demolishing the existing building entirely or
erecting any building by removing the roof of the existing
ground floor structures and adding one or more upper floors
and to complete a dwelling house, originally meant to be used
as one dwelling house into more than one dwelling houses.
Building plans have to be furnished to the Commissioner, in
terms of Section 338.
5. Even with regard to execution of works not amounting to
erection of building notice under Section 342 of the MMC Act
has to be given to the Commissioner. The relevant portion of
the Section reads as follows:

“342. Notice to be given to the Commissioner of intention
to make additions, etc., to or change of user of, a
building.
Every person who shall intend(
a) to make any addition to a building, or change of existing
user or
(b) to make any alteration or repairs to a building involving
the removal, alteration or reerection
of any part of the
building except tenantable repairs:
Provided that no lowering of plinth, foundation or floor
in a building shall be permitted.
Explanation."
Tenantable repairs" in this section shall
mean, only,(
i) providing guniting to the structural members or
walls;
(ii) plastering, painting, pointing;
(iii) changing floor tiles;
(iv) repairing W. C., bath or washing places;
(v) repairing or replacing drainage pipes, taps,
manholes and other fittings;
(vi) repairing or replacing sanitary water plumbing,
or electrical fittings; and
(vii) replacement of roof with the same material, but
shall not include,(
a) change in horizontal and vertical existing
dimensions of the structure;
(b) replacement or removal of any structural
members of load bearing walls;
(c) lowering of plinth, foundations or floors;
(d) addition or extension of mezzanine floor
or loft; and
(e) flattening of roof or repairing roof with
different material;
(c) [* * *]

(cc) to make any alteration in a building involving(
i) the subdivision
of any room in such
building so as to convert the same into two or
more separate rooms,
(ii) the conversion of any passage or space in
such building into a room or rooms, or
(d) to remove or reconstruct any portion of a
building abutting on a street which stands within the
regular line of such street,
shall give to the Commissioner, in a form obtained for this
purpose under section 344, notice of his said intention,
specifying the position of the building in which such work is
to be executed, the nature and extent of the intended work,
the particular part or parts, if any, of such work which is or
are intended to be used for human habitation and the name
of the person whom he intends to employ to supervise its
execution.”
6. An analysis of this Section clearly indicates that if any
addition is to be made to the building or existing use of the
building is to be changed then notice is required to be given to
the Commissioner before such addition or change is made.
Even for making any alteration or repair to a building which
involves the removal, or alteration of any part of the building,
permission is required except for tenantable repairs which have
been specifically defined in the explanation of this Section. The
proviso lays down that no lowering of plinth, foundation or
floors in the building shall be permitted. Tenantable repairs
have been defined and we need not dwell on what are

tenantable repairs for the purpose of deciding these cases. We
would, however, like to emphasise that even in case of repairs
not falling within the category of tenantable repairs, notice will
have to be given to the Commissioner and permission is to be
taken and then only work can be commenced in terms of
Section 347.
7. We are mainly concerned with Section 351 which reads as
follows :“
351. Proceedings to be taken in respect of buildings or
work commenced contrary to section 347.
(1) The Commissioner shall, by notification in
the Official Gazette, designate an officer of the Corporation
to be the Designated Officer for the purposes of this section
and of sections 352, 352A and 354A. The Designated Officer
shall have jurisdiction over such local area as may be
specified in the notification and different officers may be
designated for different local areas.
(1A) If the erection of any building or the execution
of any such work as is described in section 342, is
commenced contrary to the provisions of section 342 or
347, the Designated Officer, unless he deems it necessary to
take proceedings in respect of such building or work under
section 354, shall(
a) by written notice, require the person who
is erecting such building or executing such work, or
has erected such building or executed such work, or
who is the owner for the time being of such building
or work, within seven days from the date of service
of such notice, by a statement in writing subscribed
by him or by an agent duly authorized by him in that
behalf and addressed to the Designated Officer, to
show sufficient cause why such building or work
shall not be removed, altered or pulled down; or
(b) shall require the said person on such day
and at such time and place as shall be specified in
such notice to attend personally, or by an agent duly
authorized by him in that behalf, and show sufficient

cause why such building or work shall not be
removed, altered or pulled down.
Explanation. "
To show sufficient cause" in this subsection
shall mean to prove that the work mentioned in the
said notice is carried out in accordance with the provisions
of section 337 or 342 and section 347 of the Act.
(2) If such person shall fail to show sufficient
cause, to the satisfaction of the Designated Officer, why
such building or work shall not be removed, altered or
pulled down, the Designated Officer may remove, alter or
pull down the building or work and the expenses thereof
shall be paid by the said person. In case of removal or
pulling down of the building or the work by the Designated
Officer, the debris of such building or work together with
other building material, if any, at the sight of the
construction, belonging to such person, shall be seized and
disposed of in the prescribed manner and after deducting
from the receipts of such sale or disposal, the expenditure
incurred for removal and sale of such debris and material,
the surplus of the receipts shall be returned by
the Designated Officer, to the person concerned.
(3) No court shall stay the proceeding of any
public notice including notice for eviction, demolition or
removal from any land or property belonging to the State
Government or the Corporation or any other local authority
or any land which is required for any public project or civil
amenities, without first giving the Commissioner a
reasonable opportunity of representing in the matter.”
Subsection
(1A) was the original subsection
(1). It appears that
if the erection of any building or the execution of any work is
commenced contrary to the provisions of Section 342 or 347 then
the designated officer shall issue written notice calling upon the
builder, occupier, owner to submit his reply within 7 days from
the service of notice to show cause as to why such a building
should not be demolished. The designated officer can also
require the person to appear before him personally on a time and

date fixed by him. The Explanation is important. It lays down
that ‘sufficient cause’ would mean that the work is being carried
out in accordance with the provisions of Sections 337 or 342 and
347 of the MMC Act. This means that required permission before
the construction has to be obtained and if the person, within 7
days, is not able to produce such permission, then the
designated officer can take steps to remove the building. Subsection
(2) provides that if the noticee does not show cause or the
designated officer is not satisfied with the reply filed, then the
building can be removed or pulled out. Subsection
(3) debars
the jurisdiction of civil courts to stay proceeding of any such
public notice.
8. Dealing with the issues relating to building under
construction and/or reconstruction and/or extension without
valid permission the Bombay High Court in Sopan’s case (supra)
had directed that a short notice of 24 hours be issued after
drawing a panchnama at the site and also by taking photographs
of such structure and/or extension. It was also ordered that the
photographs should indicate the date when the same were taken.
Direction 4 provided that if after demolition the unauthorised

structure is reerected
without valid permission within a period of
1 year then also notice of only 24 hours would be required. We
are not directly concerned with directions 5 and 6. In Sopan’s
case (supra), no direction was given that if the offending
structure is demolished illegally the same should be permitted to
be reconstructed. The reconstruction jurisprudence seems to
have developed at a later stage.
9. At this juncture it would be necessary to point out that
when Sopan’s case (supra) was decided there was no provision
fixing a time line for filing a reply to the notice. Now, 7 days have
been fixed to file the reply in terms of Section 351 subsection
(1A), and, therefore, the first direction in Sopan’s case (supra) is
no longer operative. The Legislature has enacted a provision and
this direction cannot be said to be valid any more.
10. The main dispute is with regard to the 2nd direction in
Sopan’s case (supra) which provided that demolition of the
building structure can be done only after giving 15 days’ notice to
the affected person.

11. Shri Atmaram N. Nadkarni, learned Additional Solicitor
General, appearing for the appellants submits that by making an
amendment to Section 351, providing a period of 7 days for
notice to be given, the first direction in Sopan’s case (supra) is
no longer valid.
12. However, as pointed out by Mr. Bharat Zaveri, learned
counsel appearing on behalf of the respondents that the second
direction in Sopan’s case (supra) requiring 15 days’ notice to be
given to the affected person before demolition of the structure, is
still valid and, therefore, 2 notices are required to be given viz.,(i)
a show cause notice of 7 days in terms of Section 351 (1A) and;
(ii) notice of 15 days in terms of Sopan’s case (supra). The
learned counsel also submits that the judgment in Sopan’s case
(supra) holds the field till date, and we agree with the counsel
that in terms of direction no.2 in Sopan’s case (supra), 15 days’
notice has to be given before demolishing the structure. We are
not oblivious to the fact that Subsection
(2) of Section 351 does
not lay down any timeline in this regard. It was in this context
that when no timelines were laid down either for show cause
notice or for demolition that the Bombay High Court in Sopan’s

case (supra), fixed two timelines of 15 days each for issuing show
cause notice and, thereafter, to take action of demolition. The
Legislature intervened and the first period has been curtailed
from 15 days to 7 days but the second direction has not been
interfered with by the Legislature. Therefore, that judgment
continues to hold the field in this regard.
13. Admittedly, in both the cases the second notice does not
comply with the direction given in Sopan’s case (supra).
Therefore, there is no manner of doubt that the requirement with
regard to the second notice has not been complied with in either
of the cases. As such, the action of demolition without following
the procedure prescribed by law is illegal.
14. That brings us to the main issue before us. Is the writ court
justified in issuing a direction that since the building has been
demolished without following the procedure prescribed by law,
the petitioners before the High Court (Respondents before us) be
permitted to reconstruct the structure albeit using the same
material, and of the same dimensions, as existed earlier? The
second direction given is that before commencing of work of
reconstruction, the petitioner shall serve a notice to the

designated officer. It has further been observed by the High
Court that the reconstruction of the structure on the basis of its
order will confer no authenticity on the structure. The third
important direction of the High Court provides that if the original
structures were constructed without obtaining development
permission, the structures reconstructed pursuant to the orders
of the Court will also be construed to be constructed without
proper development permission. Hence the Corporation can
initiate action of demolition of the structures, after following the
law laid down in Sopan’s case (supra). We have been told that
this is the regular practice followed in the Bombay High Court,
throughout the State of Maharashtra.
15. We are constrained to observe that we cannot approve of
such directions. The High Court itself is aware that some of
these structures may have been constructed without permission.
If that be so, even if the demolition was carried out without giving
the second notice, why should the party who has violated the law
by raising the construction without obtaining permission be
permitted to raise another illegal structure which only has to be
razed to the ground, after following the procedure prescribed by

law? Why should the Nation’s wealth be misutilised and misused
for raising an illegal construction which eventually has to be
demolished?
16. We make it clear that we do not approve the action of the
Municipal Corporation or its officials in demolishing the
structures without following the procedure prescribed by law, but
the relief which has to be given must be in accordance with law
and not violative of the law. If a structure is an illegal structure,
even though it has been demolished illegally, such a structure
should not be permitted to come up again. If the Municipal
Corporation violates the procedure while demolishing the
building but the structure is totally illegal, some compensation
can be awarded and, in all cases where such compensation is
awarded the same should invariably be recovered from the
officers who have acted in violation of law. However, we again
reiterate that the illegal structure cannot be permitted to be reerected.
17. Assuming that the structure is not illegal then also the
Court will first have to come to a finding that the structure was
constructed legally. It must come to a clearcut
finding as to the

dimensions of the structure, what area it was covering and which
part of the plot it was covering. In those cases the High Court,
once it comes to the conclusion that the structure which has
been demolished was not an illegal structure, may be justified in
permitting reconstruction of the structure, but while doing so the
Court must clearly indicate the structure it has permitted to be
constructed; what will be the length of the structure; what will be
its width; what will be its height; which side will the doors and
windows face; how many number of storeys are permitted etc.
We feel that in most cases the writ court may be unable to
answer all these questions. Therefore, it would be prudent to
permit the structure to be built in accordance with the existing
bylaws.
Directions can be issued to the authorities to issue
requisite permission for construction of a legal structure within a
time bound period of about 60 days. This may vary from case to
case depending upon the nature of the structure and the area
where it is being built.
18. Blanket orders permitting reerection
will lead to unplanned
and haphazard construction. This will cause problems
to the general public. Even if the rights of private individuals

have been violated in as much as sufficient notice for demolition
was not given, in such cases structures erected in violation of the
laws cannot be permitted to be reerected.
We must also
remember that in all these cases, the High Court has not found
that the structures were legal. It has passed the orders only on
the ground that the demolition was carried out without due
notice. As already indicated above, compensation for demolished
structure or even the cost of the new structure to be raised, if
any, can be imposed upon the municipal authorities which
should be recovered from the erring officials, but in no
eventuality should an unplanned structure be permitted to be
raised.
19. Times have changed. Technology has advanced. However,
the legal fraternity continues to live in a state of status quo.
Sopan’s case (supra) was decided on 09.02.1996. More than two
decades have elapsed. The Courts must not be hidebound by old
decisions and the law must develop in accordance with changing
times.
20. All concerned viz., the State, the Municipal authorities and
the High Court need to take note and advantage of advancement

in technology. We have been informed that disputes with regard
to the dimensions and nature of the structure arise especially in
those cases where rural or suburban areas are included at a later
stage in the municipalities. Some of these structures have no
sanctioned plans. The Development Control and Promotion
Regulations for Greater Mumbai, 2034, provide that no
permission shall be required to carry out tenantable repairs to
the existing buildings which were constructed with the approval
of the competent authority, or are in existence since 17.04.1964
in respect of residential structures, and 01.04.1962 in respect of
nonresidential
structures, as required under Section 342 of the
MMC Act. We have already noted what is meant by tenantable
repairs. This is explained in Section 342 of the MMC Act. Only
repairs envisaged in the explanation are permitted to be carried
out without permission and all other repairs have to be carried
out with permission. Since these old buildings do not have plans
it is difficult to find out whether the construction carried out is
actually tenantable repairs or the structures are being
constructed/reconstructed for which permission is required.

21. There is no difficulty to find a solution to this problem if the
State is inclined to do so. Till the State frames any laws in this
regard, we direct that before any construction/reconstruction, or
repair not being a tenantable repair is carried out, the
owner/occupier/builder/contractor/architect, in fact all of them
should be required to furnish a plan of the structure as it exists.
This map can be taken on record and, thereafter, the
construction can be permitted. In such an eventuality even if the
demolition is illegal it will be easy to know what were the
dimensions of the building. This information should not only be
in paper form in the nature of a plan, but should also be in the
form of 3D visual information, in the nature of photographs,
videos etc.
22. All over the country we find that when people raise illegal
constructions it is claimed that the said construction has been
existing for long. The answer is to get Geomapping done. The
relevant technology is Geographic Information System (GIS). If
on Google Maps one can get a road view, we see no reason as to
why this technology cannot be used by the municipal
corporations. At the first stage we direct that all the cities in

Maharashtra where the population is 50 lakhs or more the
municipal authorities will get Geomapping done not only of the
municipal areas but also of areas 10 Kms. from the outer
boundary. This can be done by satellite, drones or vehicles.
Once one has the whole city geomapped it would be easy to
control illegal constructions. We further direct the State of
Maharashtra to ensure that sufficient funds are made available
to the municipal corporations concerned and this exercise should
be completed within a period of one year from the date of this
order.
23. We also would like to give further directions regarding the
manner in which the evidence of illegal
construction/reconstruction etc., is collected and notices are
issued and served. We, therefore, issue the following directions:(
1) It will be obligatory for all Municipal Corporations
in the State of Maharashtra where the population is 50 lakhs
or more to get geomapping and geophotography
of the areas
under their jurisdiction done within a period of one year.
Geomapping will also be done of an area of 10 Kms. from the
boundary of such areas. The records should be maintained

and updated by the Municipal Corporations within such time
period as the Municipal Corporation deems fit, keeping in
mind the specific circumstances of the area under its
jurisdiction.
(2) Whenever any new area, which is not already
geomapped, is brought under the jurisdiction of a particular
municipality, it will be the duty of the concerned Municipal
Corporation to ensure that geomapping of the area is
conducted and the geomapping records of such area are
created at the earliest.
(3) In cases where buildings are already existing and it
is alleged by the Municipal Corporation that the building has
been constructed in violation of applicable laws:3.1.
The Commissioner/Competent Authority on
coming to know that an illegal building has been
constructed, shall issue a show cause notice giving 7
days in terms of Section 351 to the
owner/occupier/builder/contractor etc. Along with this
notice the Commissioner/Competent Authority shall also
send photographs and visual images taken on the site

clearly depicting the illegal structure. Photographs and
images should digitally display the time and date of
taking the photographs;
3.2. In case the notice is not replied to within the
time prescribed, i.e., 7 days, then the building shall be
immediately demolished by the Municipal Corporation;
3.3 In case the owner files a reply to the notice,
the Commissioner/Competent Authority of the
Municipal Corporation shall consider the reply and pass
a reasoned order thereon. In case the reply is not found
satisfactory then the order shall be communicated in the
manner laid down hereinafter to the
owner/occupier/builder/contractor etc. giving him
further 15 days’ notice before demolition of the property.
During this period the
owner/occupier/builder/contractor etc. can approach
the appellate/revisional authority or the High Court.
(4) In those cases where according to the municipal
corporation there is ongoing construction which is being
carried on in violation of the applicable laws:WWW.

4.1. The Commissioner/Competent Authority on
coming to know that there is ongoing construction in
violation of the applicable laws shall issue a show cause
notice giving 24 hours in terms of Section 351 to the
owner/occupier/builder/contractor/architect etc. Along
with this notice the Commissioner/Competent Authority
shall also send photographs and visual images taken on
the site clearly depicting the illegal structure.
Photographs and images should digitally display the
time and date of taking the photographs;
4.2. The Commissioner/Competent Authority can
also issue an interim ‘stopconstruction’
order along with
the notice or any time after issuing the notice. Such
order shall also include the relevant pictures of the
alleged violation(s). Photographs and images should
digitally display the time and date of taking the
photographs;
4.3. In case the notice is not replied to within the
time prescribed, i.e., 24 hours, then the building shall be

immediately demolished by the Municipal Corporation;
4.4. In case the
owner/occupier/builder/contractor/architect etc. files a
reply to the notice, the Commissioner/Competent
Authority of the Municipal Corporation shall consider
the reply and pass a reasoned order thereon. In case the
reply is not found satisfactory then the order shall be
communicated in the manner laid down hereinafter to
the owner/occupier/builder/contractor/architect etc.
giving him further 7 days’ notice before demolition of the
property. During this period the
owner/occupier/builder/contractor/architect etc. can
approach the appellate/revisional authority or the High
Court.
(5) In regard to service of notice we direct as follows :5.1.
Wherever possible notice shall be served
personally on the person who is raising or has raised the
illegal structure including the
owner/occupier/builder/contractor/architect etc.;

5.2. Notice, in addition to the traditional mode, can
also be sent through electronic means, both by email
and
by sending a message on the mobile phones. Even a
message to a foreman or person incharge
of the
construction at the site will be deemed to be sufficient
notice;
5.3. In the notice, the municipal authorities shall also
give an email
ID and phone number where the noticee can
send his reply through email
or messaging services. This
will hopefully do away with all disputes with regard to
alleged nonservice
of notice.
(6) Till the State frames any laws in this regard, we
direct that before any construction/reconstruction, or repair
not being a tenantable repair is carried out, the
owner/occupier/builder/contractor/architect, in fact all of
them should be required to furnish a plan of the structure as it
exists. They will also provide an email
ID and mobile phone
number on which notice(s), if any, can be sent. This map can
be taken on record and, thereafter, the construction can be
permitted. In such an eventuality even if the demolition is
illegal it will be easy to know what were the dimensions of the

building. This information should not only be in paper form in
the nature of a plan, but should also be in the form of 3D
visual information, in the nature of photographs, videos etc.
24. As far as Civil Appeal No. 7627 of 2019 @ SLP(C) No.15909
of 2018 is concerned the structure has been rebuilt. That
obviously cannot be undone
now. We, however, direct the
municipal corporation to ensure that fresh notice is issued to the
respondent and thereafter action is taken strictly in accordance
with law. The whole process should be completed within a period
of three months. In case an order adverse to the respondent is
passed by the municipal corporation, then the respondent will be
at liberty to approach the High Court and raise all grounds
available to it.
25. As far as Civil Appeal No.7626 of 2019 @ SLP(C) No.16489
of 2018 is concerned, reconstruction has not been done and,
therefore, we partly allow the appeal and set aside the order of
the High Court to the extent it allows reconstruction. We remit
the matter to the High Court which is requested to proceed in
accordance with law laid down in this case.

26. Both the appeals are disposed of in the above terms. The
Registrar General of the Bombay High Court shall cause copies of
this judgment to be served upon the Chief Secretary, State of
Maharashtra as well as Principal Secretary, Urban Development
Department, Mumbai, Maharashtra, who will ensure that copy of
this judgment is served upon all the municipal corporations in
the entire State of Maharashtra. Pending application(s), if any,
also stand(s) disposed of.
…………………………………..J.
(Deepak Gupta)
………………………………….J.
(Aniruddha Bose)
New Delhi
October 24, 2019

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