Two notices were issued last week by the BMC, one was to actor Kangana Ranaut while the other one to designer Manish Malhotra.

The notice to Kangana gave her mere 24 hours, while that to Malhotra specified 7 days period to reply.

This created an uproar many blamed bias, we got Adv Prakkash Rohira a practicing advocate in the Bombay High Court to demystify the legal world to our readers.

He has explained the points in detail, hope this settles the debate, why BMC issued a notice and gave only 24 hours to Kangana.

A notice served under section 351(served to Manish Malhotra) of the Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act 1888, is a notice served on the owner/occupier more like a show cause notice, granting opportunity to the owner occupier to reveal the authorizations/permissions approved by the competent authority for the construction.

A notice served under Section 354A (issued to Kangana) of the Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act 1888, is a notice calling upon the owner/occupier to stop such construction/stop work if the designated officer is satisfied that the construction work has illegally commenced or is illegally ongoing.. 

Demolition was carried out by BMC at Kangana Ranaut's Bandra bungalow
Demolition was carried out by BMC at Kangana Ranaut’s Bandra bungalow

In the recent Supreme Court of India judgement of Municipal Corporation Of Greater Mumbai vs M/S Sunbeam High Tech Developers dated October 24, 2019, it was held “In every case where a notice Under Section 351 of the B.M.C. Act is issued to a party 7 days time shall be given for submitting the reply. In case the party to whom notice is issued sends the reply with the documents, and shows cause, the Municipal Commissioner or Deputy Municipal Commissioner shall consider the reply and if no sufficient cause is shown, give short reasons for not accepting the contention of the affected party.”

Further, it would be open to the Commissioner to demolish the offending structure 15 days after the order of the Commissioner/Deputy Municipal Commissioner is communicated to the affected person.

Additionally, the court empowers the staff of the Corporation, who if detects the building which is in the process of being constructed, reconstructed or extended without valid permission from the Corporation, power has been granted to the Commissioner to demolish the same by giving a short notice of 24 hours after drawing a panchanama at the site and also by taking photographs of such structure and/or extension. The photographs should indicate the date when the same were taken.

Understanding this aspect of both the sections, it would be seen that action was initiated against Kangana Ranaut’s Bungalow citing work was ongoing under 354A for which only 24 hours notice was given.

Whilst the notice served upon the designer, having observed reason for grounds only under Section 351, granted a 7 day notice to the owner/occupant. 

In my opinion, the law explains and permits both different notices being served upon both the respondents under the appropriate sections.

Based on media reports, it has been claimed that there was “no ongoing construction/work” therefore questioning the need to serve a stop work notice under section 354A and not under section 351 of the Act, which would have granted Kangana Ranaut, sufficient time to revert.

As the matter is before the Bombay High Court for adjudication, Its incorrect to speculate or comment on the outcome.   

Also Read: How Much Kangana Paid For Her Bandra Office?

Ref citations: 

1.      Sopan Maruti Thopte And Ors. vs. Pune Municipal Corporation & Ors. on 9 February, 1996 AIR 1996 Bom 304 

2.      Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai v. Sunbeam High Tech Developers Pvt. Ltd., 2019 SCC Online SC 1389

Disclaimer: The views and opinion expressed in the article solely belong to the author (Adv Prakkash Rohira). They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of SquareFeatIndia.

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