In a reprieve for the Maharashtra government, the Bombay High Court, on June 9, 2017, vacated a stay granted on allowing an increase in the floor space index (FSI) for new buildings proposed to be constructed in Navi Mumbai, under the state’s cluster redevelopment scheme. A division bench of chief justice Manjula Chellur and justice NM Jamdar said, the stay granted in September 2014 stands vacated, as the government has obtained an environment impact assessment report, in support of its proposal for cluster development.
“Now that the report has been obtained, we are of the opinion that nothing comes in the way of the government, in taking further course of action with respect to their proposal,” chief justice Chellur said. The bench was hearing an application filed by the government, seeking for the stay to be vacated. In 2014, the state government proposed to increase FSI for buildings, so as to allow private builders to redevelop slum clusters and dilapidated structures into towers, as high as 60 storeys. However, the proposal was stayed by the high court in September 2014, during the hearing of a public interest litigation (PIL), on the ground that the government had not conducted any impact assessment study.
“The main grievance of the petitioners, was that there was no impact assessment report. Now, the report has been obtained,” the court said. Government pleader Abhinandan Vagyani told the court that the government will now issue a fresh notification. The court said the petitioners are at liberty to challenge the notification afresh.
The government, in its application, said the impact assessment study confirmed that the increased FSI will not have any adverse effect on the development of the area. It said that many occupants of old and dilapidated buildings in Navi Mumbai, did not have the resources to carry out redevelopment work. Thus, implementation of the cluster development project was required. The application said the increased FSI was essential, as it was an incentive to the private developers.