The alleged unauthorised structures at the Bombay Stock Exchange may not escape the BMC hammer. The Bombay High Court recently dismissed the bourse's petition, challenging an order by the civic body asking it to pull down illegal construction on a podium terrace and three service floors.
Justice K Tated rejected the stock exchange's contention that it had gone ahead with the construction despite not being able to locate the original building plan and just on the basis that it had sought the document from the civic body under RTI. The court, however, has allowed BSE four weeks' time to go in for appeal.
The civic administration had issued a demolition notice to BSE in May 2013, holding that the stock exchange had changed the use of podium terrace No.3 and service floors Nos.13, 26 and 28 of the building, known as P J Tower, without its approval.
According to BMC counsel S U Kamdar, the service floors were converted into office space such as conference halls, boardrooms and dining areas by way of additions/alterations in the original sanctioned building plan.
However, the stock exchange had replied to the notice, stating that it was unable to find the original plan. BSE informed the civic body that it had applied for the document and also sought a copy of the occupation certificate. Following this, officials from the building and factory department of "A" ward passed a demolition order in June 2013.
Vijay Badgujar of Singhania Legal Services, counsels for the BSE, argued that the corporation itself could not trace the original sanction plan. "Without any sanctioned plan, the corporation has issued the demolition notice. Therefore, the same is illegal," argued Badgujar.
The HC was also informed that BSE's architect had submitted a copy of the plan on May 7, 1992. In that plan, it was specifically shown that the floors in question were podium terrace/service floors, the court was told.
"The petitioner, Bombay Stock Exchange, is supposed to preserve their important documents i.e. sanction plan, occupation certificate, etc. It is very surprising that the petitioner made a statement that they misplaced their sanction plan of the building," observed HC. On a request from BSE's counsel, the court stayed its order for four weeks.