5 Questions from the Campa Cola case

by Vishnu


Now that the loan has been cleared, I have lost the house.” – A Campa Cola Resident.

Most of us have been following the case of Demolition of Campa Cola Compound –  a compound with 6 Apartment Buildings. The latest being that the Residents have appealed to the Supreme Court against the Demolition but their plea was rejected.

Here’s a round-up for you.

Facts of this Case

Taken from the Judgement document of Bombay High Court (http://dspace.judis.nic.in/handle/123456789/67420).

In 1962 the plot was leased by Bombay Municipal Corporation (BMC) to Pure Drinks, that manufactured Campa Cola there.

In 1981, the plot was converted to Residential and permission was given by Planning Authority to construct 6 Buildings, of Basement, Ground and 5 Floors.

In 1983, revised plans were submitted to build more floors (24 floors in case of one of the buildings), which was rejected by the Planning Authority.

The Builders continued to construct, ignoring plan rejection. In 1984 a “Stop Work Notice” was issued by Bombay Municipal Corporation. It mentioned that if the needful (aligning with the sanctioned plan only) is not done, the construction will be forcibly removed.

The Corporation buckled under the pressure from Builders, and ignored the Construction, construction completed in 1989.

A new Architect was engaged in 1985 who submitted revised plans and requested withdrawal of Stop Work notice. The Request was rejected.

Even before Construction had begun, the Builder had executed Agreements with prospective buyers. And NO, after going through the agreement, it is not clear that the construction is going to happen illegally! The clauses merely said plans are up for sanction.

Housing Societies were formed right after execution of the Agreements.

Occupation Certificate was not granted, but the buyers started occupying the illegally constructed building around 1999. There was no water supply to the buildings. Upon writ petition to the High Court by the Housing Societies, Water Supply was provided.

In 2005 the Notice from BMC for demolition was sent to the Residents. Replies from the Housing Societies were rejected by BMC.

Then on started the petitions, demonstrations by Residents, formation of human chain when the bulldozers came in, delaying of demolition, fresh notices, fresh appeals.

Now Supreme Court has also supported the Demolition. The Campa Cola residents must handover the keys to their flats by 12-June.

Most of them are packing off, only to live in tents in the compound.. The tension and hardships of the Residents continue..

Campa Cola Case

5 Questions that you, me and every Flat Owner has

1. Where are the Builders who ignored the rejected Plan as well as Stop Work notice?

2. Is Campa Cola the only Apartment Complex where Residents have occupied without Occupancy Certificate??!!  If you are from outside Maharashtra, you know it is more of a norm than exception for Apartments to be occupied without an Occupancy Certificate.

The point to be noted is that the Demolition is supported not just by Bombay High Court, where a Bangalorean may justify that Mumbai has more stringent and mature Construction rules, but also by the Supreme Court which gives it a national precedence.

3. How did Banks give the Loans for Buyers to purchase these illegal flats? Why did BMC – which itself gave Demolition notices – continue collecting Property Tax? There are multiple authorities who are LOT MORE AWARE of the illegalities of the construction than the lay flat buyer, but abetted it.  What is the action being taken against them?

4. Will the BMC return the Property Tax – a substantial amount in Mumbai – it has been collecting from these Buildings for past 25 years?

5. This is being made a national exhibit, but is this a long term solution or any solution at all? Specially in a city like Mumbai where rents are skyrocketing and the tyranny of Brokers is rampant. Living in rented flats means very high rental expense as well as paying Brokerage every year, even when you live in the same house year after year! With Banks super eager to dole out Housing Loans, young, less aware Buyers will enter into purchase of flats without full awareness of what to check! They will simply buy because others are buying.

This particular case will give Builders the confidence that they can build illegally, sell, make a fortune, and exit. The law is going to hold only the Apartment Residents guilty.

What do you think?




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