HC disposes of PIL on height norm violations near airport
The Bombay High Court disposed of a public interest litigation seeking court’s intervention on height norm violations by constructions around the Mumbai airport.
A bench of Justices S C Dharmadhikari and P D Naik held that the Height Restrictions (For Safeguarding of Aircraft Operations) Rules, 2015 contain well-defined norms.
As long as the authorities are implementing them, the court need not pass any intervening orders, the judges said.
When the PIL was filed in 2014, these rules were yet to be framed, the court noted.
“The Rules came into force in 2015, laying down procedure for the Directorate General of Civil Aviation and the Airport Authority of India to deal with buildings or objects violating height norms or affecting air safety.
“However, the existence of these rules was not brought to this court’s notice until recently,” the bench said.
“Therefore, though the PIL was filed before the Rules were notified, orders were passed by several benches of this court without taking into account the above rules,” it said.
The judges, however, refused to revoke previous orders of the high court on this PIL, including a 2017 directive asking the DGCA and the municipal corporation to demolish the buildings which violated the height norms.
Several private developers, a hospital and some residents have approached the HC, challenging the demolition notices issued to them.
The bench is likely to pass separate orders on these petitions tomorrow.
Yashwant Shenoy, who had filed the PIL, can move the court afresh if he finds any violation in the implementation of 2015 rules, the court said.
“It will not be proper to pass any comments on the allegations of height norm violations or breaches on part of the authorities given that they (allegations) were made without taking into account the 2015 Rules,” the bench said.
The PIL had said that violation of height norms poses a security threat, and a risk for aircraft movement.
The DGCA and AAI had informed the court that they were taking appropriate action as per the 2015 Rules.