MMRDA has ‘special powers’ akin to BMC chief

Mumbai: In a significant ruling on Friday, the Bombay High Court upheld the special powers conferred upon the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) to act as a civic authority and issue notices for eviction, demolition and also rehabilitation for any infrastructure project.

In other words, the MMRDA can exercise the duties or powers of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and also of the civic commissioner. But these special powers are only limited to infrastructure projects pertaining to roads, bridges and any other means of transport.

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A bench of Justices Satyaranjan Dharmadhikari and Riyaz Chagla upheld the powers while clarifying that the same does not infringe upon the statutory powers of the BMC and the civic chief.

“We uphold the provisions of the MMRDA act, which grants special powers to the authority and the metropolitan commissioner to be deemed as the BMC and municipal commissioner.

These special powers, which allow the metropolitan commissioner and the MMRDA to execute the duties and powers of the BMC and civic commissioner are valid,” Justice Dharmadhikari ruled.

“We clarify that these powers can strictly be exercised only for infrastructural projects and for issuing eviction, demolition or rehabilitation notices.

We do not think that these powers would violate or breach the statutory powers of the BMC and its chief,” Justice Dharmadhikari added. The bench was dealing with a bunch of petitions challenging the provisions of the MMRDA act, which conferred such special powers upon the development authority and also the metropolitan commissioner.

By these powers, the MMRDA and its chief need not wait for an approval from the BMC and can itself initiate process to evict any tenants or demolish any structure, which comes in way of any of its infrastructural project. The authority also enjoys the power to rehabilitate the tenants to some other sites.