MUMBAI: In order to expedite prosecution against those booked for illegal constructions, the state government plans to amend the Maharashtra Regional Town Planning (MRTP) Act to do away with the BMC’s right to sanction prosecution in such cases; the government has also proposed to make it compulsory for the police to file a chargesheet in 90 days.
At present, under section 142 of the Act, the police need the civic body’s nod to proceed, though it is the BMC that files cases of MRTP Act violations with the police.
“If the BMC or any planning body registers an FIR, it means they want action initiated against the violator. Why then should there be a requirement for sanctioning prosecution?” said a senior official from the urban development department. There are several instances of the BMC refusing permission to the police and regularizing violations after imposing penalties on offenders. A source said that on occasion the MRTP Act has also been misused to put pressure on offenders in exchange for bribes.
An official said the police have repeatedly complained that once the BMC files a complaint, it drags its feet over the case, which in turn reflects badly on police statistics. Citing a Supreme Court judgment, the police had said that if the BMC does not decide in three months on whether to prosecute an accused, the police will automatically take action under the MRTP Act.
On the matter of chargesheets, an official said, “The home department already has guidelines on filing chargesheets in different kinds of cases. We will check if there are specifications for cases under the MRTP Act. If not, this clause will be added.” He said that sometimes cases keep pending for years for want of a chargesheet, and offenders get stay orders from courts.
Credits ET Realty