Mumbai: After 20-year battle, SC says two JVPD plots 'open spaces'


In a decision bringing closure to a 20-year-old fight, Supreme Court has ordered maintenance of two open spaces at Juhu-Vile Parle Development Scheme (JVPD) as open spaces only. It upheld a 2017 Bombay High Court order that had termed Mhada's decision to allow construction on the two layout open spaces as an "illegality" and "parting away with a goldmine, giving enormous benefit to private parties without public exchequer getting slightest benefit".

Dismissing a special leave petition filed by Anjuman-EShiate Ali Trust of Bohri community challenging the HC order, the apex court stated, "As rightly held by HC, we are also of the view that the two plots, shown as open spaces/garden in approved layout, cannot be allowed to be used for construction."

The matter was fought by Architect P K Das, Save Open Space convenor Ashoke Pandit and a resident, Bharat Shetty.

The matter refers to 22,500 sqft plot 6 on 9th Wireless Road and 15,129 sqft plot 3 on North-South 10th Road. The spaces amount to 10% of total area of the two layouts, while BMC's Development Control Rules (1967 and 1991) mandate more than 15% as open space for such large plots.

The two comprise 13 and 19 housing societies, with one sub-plot in each layout reserved as open space. In 1967, the two plots were given to the trust, which handed them to 57 individuals and two co-operative societies for housing low-income members of the community. In 1999, Mhada submitted a revised layout plan for JVPD to BMC for updation, showing no reservations on the plots.

In SC, the trust argued that the 1967 layout was temporary. But SC said, "There is no such concept as temporary layout in the scheme of Mumbai Municipal Corporation (MMC) Act and Regulations."

The court observed that 1999 development plan did not show details of internal layouts sanctioned by BMC. SC concluded there was no merit in the appeals.

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