In a major setback to the hundreds of residents of Mumbai's Campa Cola society, the Supreme Court on Tuesday directed the occupants of illegally constructed flats to vacate their houses by May 31, 2014.
Taking up the hearing of Campa Cola case case on Tuesday, the SC asked the society residents to vacate the premises by May 31 next year, directing them to give an undertaking within six weeks for the same.
During the hearing, the Attorney General G E Vahanvati told the Supreme Court that no specific proposal could be worked out for enabling new construction in the compound.
The court also allowed the BMC to take action against residents who failed to give the undertaking.
The Supreme Court, had on November 13 stayed forthwith the demolition of unauthorised flats in the compound till May 31, 2014. Staying the demolition, the apex court had also agreed to consider the proposal of constructing a separate building in the premises for those whose apartments are to be demolished.
Following the SC order, the residents, who had initially stalled the demolition drive by BMC, had heaved a sigh of relief.
The Supreme Court had set November 11 deadline to vacate 102 flats declared as illegal. Families living in the compound had pinned their hopes on Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan stepping in and saving their homes by passing an ordinance to regularise their flats.
In 2002, the BMC found that of the 2.11 lakh sq feet built-up area, 1.86 sq feet was permissible and 24,779 sq feet needed demolition. In 2005, the BMC concluded that all flats above the fifth floor of every building were unauthorised. This worked out to 91,000-odd sq feet, including the 24,000-odd covered under the 2002 notice. Demolition notices were then issued to 83 flats, spanning 67,000 sq ft.
Fighting a legal battle since 2005, the residents said they were duped by the builders and will be on the roads if their flats were pulled down.
The seven high-rise buildings were constructed at the Campa Cola Compound between 1981 and 1989. The builders had permission for only five floors, but constructed several more. While one of the buildings has 20 floors, another has 17.