It seems the civic body's warning that corporators opposing the demolition of Campa Cola flats could face disqualification has worked, as not a single elected representative turned up to extend support to the residents when the demolition was to begin on Friday.
A senior civic official said no corporator was seen joining the residents to oppose the demolition.
"We are going to record the proceedings. So if any corporator is seen trying to protect the structures, this could invite disqualification of the member as per the Mumbai Municipal Corporation (MMC) Act," he said, requesting anonymity.
He pointed out that such an action could also amount to contempt of the Supreme Court order on the demolition of the flats. "If we produce the record before the apex court, it could direct their disqualification," the official said.
He said that the civic authority had dropped a hint to corporators about the possibility of disqualification, ahead of the demolition action.
However, the municipal corporation has yet to decide on what action it can take against other elected representatives who visited the Campa Cola premises on Friday.
Among the leaders present were Shiv Sena MP Arvind Sawant, BJP MP Gopal Shetty, BJP leaders Mangal Prabhat Lodha and Shaina NC, NCP MLC Rahul Narwekar and Shiv Sena former corporator Ashish Chemburkar. Some supporters of the RPI (Athavale) and MNS also showed up.
About 20 RPI activists were detained after they shouted slogans despite a warning by the police.
"Some politicians did turn up, but they did not create any hindrance to the work. It was only the residents who resisted the drive. If anybody creates hurdles, action will be taken under the relevant sections," the official said.
The rule book
Section 16 of the Mumbai Municipal Corporation (MMC) Act, 1888, states that a corporator is liable to be disqualified if s/he tries to protect an illegal structure. There is no provision in the MMC Act for action against an MP or MLA, but the civic body could file a complaint under section 353 of the IPC, which provides for punishment by imprisonment for up to two years, or fine, or both.