SC upholds Mumbai slum redevelopment policy with extra FSI
The Supreme Court on Friday upheld a Bombay high court decision to approve the Maharashtra government’s Mumbai slum redevelopment policy with increased floor space index (FSI) to accommodate the burgeoning migrant population in the city.
In dismissing a long-pending appeal by NGO JanhitManch, a bench of Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Sanjay K Kaul and K M Joseph said there was no ground to interfere with the HC order, which approved the Maharashtra government’s comprehensive slum rehabilitation scheme envisaging an innovative concept of using land as a resource and allowing FSI as an incentive.
Justice Kaul, writing the judgment for the bench, said the trend of rushing to the apex court with local issues must stop and the judiciary must guard against blurring the line of Constitution-mandated separation of power merely because of the perception of an individual which was different from the policy decision of the government.
“We have to keep in mind the principle of separation of powers. The elected government of the day, which has the mandate of the people, takes care of policy matters. There is a democratic structure at different levels, starting from the level of village panchayats, nagarpalikas, municipal authorities, legislative assemblies and Parliament, each of them has a role to perform,” the SC said. “Perspective of individuals may vary, but if the elected bodies which have policy formulation powers is to be superseded by the ideals of each individual, the situation would be chaotic. The policies formulated and the legislation made, unless they fall foul of the Constitution of India, cannot be interfered with, at the behest of the appellants. The appellants have completely missed this point,” it added.
Frowning at petitioners rushing to the SC with local issues, Justice Kaul said, “It is also appropriate to emphasize that local problems must be attended to locally. The high court is a constitutional court. The state court is best equipped to look into local matters, especially where area development and zoning regulations of the state or the city are in question.
“The problems and solutions may vary from state to state. It is really not for this court to sit as an appellate court over these matters, unless some patent illegality is shown, or it is shown that there is any contravention of the constitutional mandate. We find no such case made out here.”