The Bombay High Court on Wednesday reserved its verdict in the interim application filed by Bollywood actor Sonu Sood seeking a stay on the trial court order refusing to grant him protection from possible coercive action by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).
The City Civil Court at Dindoshi had earlier refused to grant Sood protection in relation to the BMC notice alleging unauthorised development on his residential property at Juhu.
Appearing for Sood before the High Court today, Advocate Amogh Singh argued that the order of the trial court was passed without considering the settled position of law.
Senior Advocate AY Sakhare, appearing for BMC, pointed out that Sood had not approached the Court with clean hands as he had suppressed crucial facts.
Justice PK Chavan reserved his verdict after hearing both counsel at length.
Singh’s contended that the lower court’s order incorrectly held that a speaking order by the BMC authorities was not necessary after a reply was filed to the notice under Section 53 of Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning Act.
“Trial court cannot hold that speaking order is not necessary. That goes to the root of the matter. BMC’s counsel may now argue that since the lower court has clarified the stand on the notice, no speaking order is now required”, Singh said.
He further stated that the notice issued by BMC was vague and did not specify what the unauthorised development was. He said, “My contention is that the notice has to be specific only so that I can know what to act on.”
Sakhare’s contention opposing the stay on the notice and the order of the lower court were two-fold:
- Sood had carried out alterations under the garb of beautification. Sakhare argued that whatever alterations and additions were carried out were against the sanctioned plan.
- Sood had suppressed an important fact from the Court that unauthorised portions of his property had been demolished twice and reconstructed again.
The Senior Counsel argued that Sood had not only suppressed information about the previous notices and demolition orders of BMC, but he had also never challenged them before any court.
“The speaking order on the notice under Section 354A directing demolition if the necessary documents are not shown was not challenged by Sood at any time. So, the demolition order stands”, Sakhre submitted.
Sood moved the High Court challenging the order of the City Civil Court rejecting his plea for interim relief against the BMC from taking any action pursuant to its notice in relation to his residential property.
The notice had alleged that there were unauthorised additions and alterations carried out by Sood on his residential property beyond the approved plan of BMC.
In reply to the plea, BMC replied that Sood’s plea was only a strategy to continue running an illegal hospitality business.