On Wednesday, the BMC demolished parts of Bollywood actor Kangana Ranaut‘s office citing illegal construction while the actor was still on her way back to the city from her hometown, Manali in Himachal Pradesh. Now, a report in Mid-Day suggests that the civic body may just have to reconstruct the parts that it has demolished if the actor proves in the court there was no unauthorised construction in the place. Also Read - How BMC Delayed Court Hearing to Carry Out Demolition at Kangana Ranaut's Office
The daily quoted Senior criminal lawyer Dinesh Tiwari saying that the BMC’s act shows the political influence and the court cannot rule out the public sentiments in this case as well. “If the demolition is found illegal, the BMC will have to reconstruct the structure and pay damages. The BMC’s act is of political vendetta, the possibility of heads rolling under public pressure cannot be ruled.”
High court’s stay not applicable?
It was also found out that the Bombay High Court‘s stay on the demolition till September 30 is not applicable to Kangana’s office since such orders are only applicable to the cases which have a stay issued earlier. In Kangana’s case, “the property is neither C1 nor dilapidated. She did not get an order from the court before BMC issued the notice. Hence, the ward office’s action can be held as justified,” said senior property lawyer Vinod Sampat.
The lawyer also highlighted that there are cases in which it seemed that the BMC slept for years after issuing notices to the property owners but in Kangana’s case, they acted within a few hours. “One fails to understand the hurry shown in this case. This act appears to have been done due to political pressure,” he said.
‘Swiftness in action due to political pressure’
Meanwhile, the Bombay High Court has also observed that the ‘swiftness’ shown in carrying out the demolition was because of political pressure even though the BMC has denied any political influence saying that they only abided by the book that the department has got about illegal constructions.
Interestingly, there are 94,851 complaints of illegal construction that the BMC has received in the last 43 months out of which 42,697 were deemed ‘duplicate complaints’ by the department. Out of the rest 52,154 unique complaints, the corporation closed 7,230 complaints without notice and issued notice to 21,873 properties. Among where the notices have been sent, the BMC demolished 5,461 structures and close the complaints of 12,157 structures till July 2019.