The observation was made by Justice A M Khanwilkar and Justice S S Shinde on June 11 while hearing petitions filed by a developer and some others seeking regularisation of “illegal” structures/floors in building ‘Green Heritage' at Khargar in Navi Mumbai, near here.
Referring to an earlier judgement of the same court, the bench held that although flat buyers may be aggrieved but their interests cannot override those of the members of public at large. Their individual rights and interests are subservient to the concerns for public health and safety.
“Ultimately, if they purchase flats without bothering to make inquiries and seeking details of the construction at site, then, they are themselves to blame”, the judges said.
“In this era, where science and technology have advanced to a great extent so enactments such as Right to Information Act are in place, it is not unreasonable to expect that the flat purchasers should avail of the same and seek appropriate and relevant details of the construction before booking and purchasing flats in large scale building projects”, the bench opined.
If they (flat buyers) are carried away by the brochure and the public advertisements and do not make such inquiries, then, they cannot turn around and seek assistance of the Courts, the bench said.
Ultimately, the Court's jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution is extraordinary, discretionary and equitable. That jurisdiction cannot be exercised merely because of loss or inconvenience to such flat purchasers.
There are civil and penal laws available to them for redressal of their individual grievances and complaints. Doors of civil and criminal courts are open to them. However, they cannot seek a Writ of Mandamus directing the Planning Body to regularise unauthorised and blatantly illegal constructions. That makes a mockery of the rule of law, the judges remarked.
“This Court while exercising jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution of India cannot act contrary to law. Its orders and directions should not flout the planning laws and building regulations. It has been held by the Supreme Court that this jurisdiction must confine itself to the limits of law and not travel beyond it,” they observed.
In such circumstances, the fervent plea of the petitioners to allow retention of the unauthorized and illegal floors cannot be accepted, the judges remarked while disposing of the petitions.
In all three writ petitions, one common point raised by the petitioners was that various authorities have granted No Objection Certificate for electricity supply, water connection etc, and therefore, occupation certificate ought to have been granted by the respondents.
The Judges, however, held “in our opinion, merely because authorities have granted permission for water connection, electricity supply or No Objection Certificate etc, that itself would not lead to the conclusion that the Planning Authority (CIDCO) should regularize irregular construction over and above the permissible construction”.
Therefore, there was no substance in the arguments of the petitioners that since authorities have granted no objection certificate or water connection or electricity supply connection etc, the Planning Authority was bound to grant the occupation certificate, the bench opined.