metres, it should be at least 20 per cent and for plots larger than 10,000 sq metres, it must be at least 25 per cent.
However, developers began arguing that due to the high demand for parking spaces, they have to build parking lots in the basement and on the podium. This is a common feature in high-rise buildings in land-starved Mumbai. To access the parking space, ramps are built, which consumes space on the ground level, developers argue. But then, the trick is to compensate this loss of ground level open space, by replicating it on the podium so that they are in compliance with the DCR.
In 2012, MCGM amended a rule DCR 38 (34), which relates to the podium parameters. MCGM added a clause (iv) which relates it to DCR 23: “The recreational space prescribed in DCR 23 may be provided either at ground level or on the open-to-sky podium.” The developers exploited this provision to its fullest by reducing open space at ground level and increasing it at the podium level. This deprived the residents of open green spaces.
The apex court came down heavily on this practice. In the case of Kohinoor CTNL it observed that “The recreational space in the case reduced to almost 7.7 per cent on ground level. We are surprised that the Municipal Corporation did not look into it seriously, probably because of the rule that permits it on the podium… If this is treated as a correct interpretation than it is quite possible that recreational area left at the ground level could be zero.”
The Union government has recommended minimum 11 sq metres of open space per person and the National Building Code, 2005 prescribes at least 3 sq metres but Greater Mumbai has only 1.91 sq metres per person. The Supreme Court, concerned over the “excessive concretisation” emphasised on the need for open and green spaces at the ground level for the health of the residents and finally ruled that, “The minimum recreational space as laid down under DCR 23 cannot be reduced on the basis of DCR 38 (34). This space,