Observing that the court cannot interfere with policies of Defence Ministry regarding any construction near naval establishments, the Bombay High Court did not grant relief to a builder who challenged MoD's refusal of NOC to its project in central Mumbai.
A division bench of Justices S C Dharmadhikari and R Y Ganoo was hearing a petition filed by SSV Developers, challenging the Defence Ministry's letter dated March 1, 2012, rejecting their proposal seeking No Objection Certificate (NOC) for construction of six Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) buildings in Worli.
The court, however, refused to grant relief to the petitioner and dismissed the petition on December 23. "The objective of the guidelines of MoD is to strike a balance, between the security concerns of the defence forces and the right of public to undertake construction activities on their land. Policy decisions cannot be interfered with by us and taken so lightly," the court said.
According to the petitioner, all authorities including the Urban Development Department of Maharashtra government and the SRA had given permission for construction of the buildings in 2006. However, in March 2011, a letter was addressed by the Commanding Officer, INS Trata to the government and SRA complaining that the petitioner's buildings were being constructed without NOC from the naval authorities.
According to MoD, one of the buildings being constructed in the plot and measuring 5,342 sq mt is close to the naval establishment and hence question of security arises.
Following the MoD's letter, the SRA directed the petitioner to stop construction work. The petitioners then approached the MoD and sought NOC.
In March 2012, MoD informed the petitioner that their request for NOC was denied in view of security guidelines. Petitioner's counsel Milind Sathe argued that the project has got all permissions and now asking them to stop construction is arbitrary, unreasonable and violative of their constitutional rights.
The court, however, refused to accept this and said, "It is not as if the location of naval establishment was either unknown or that the petitioners were taken by surprise."