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Bombay HC extends relief to Sonu Sood in 'illegal' construction case


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MUMBAI: The Bombay High Court on Monday extended till January 13 a civil court order granting interim protection to actor Sonu Sood from coercive action by the BMC against the alleged illegal structural changes made by him in a residential building in suburban Juhu without permission.

Sood last week approached the HC, challenging a notice issued against him by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation in October last year and an order passed by a civil court in December dismissing his suit against the BMC's action.

The civil court, while dismissing the suit, had granted three weeks time to Sood to file an appeal and stayed its order, thus granting relief to the actor.

On Monday, BMC's counsel Anik Sakhare sought time to respond to the actor's petition.

Sood's advocate Amogh Singh then sought interim protection and a direction to the civic body to not take any coercive action.

Justice Prithviraj Chavan, while adjourning the petition till January 13, said, "The order passed by the lower court shall continue till then."

Sood''s advocate Singh told the HC that the actor has not carried out any illegal or unauthorised construction in the six-storey Shakti Sagar building.

"The petitioner (Sood) has not made any changes in the building that warrant permission from the BMC. Only those changes that are allowed under the Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning (MRTP) Act have been done," Singh said.

BMC''s counsel Sakhare, however, argued that the petitioner was illegally converting the residential building into a hotel without procuring license.

"A hotel with 24 rooms is being run in the six-storey residential building. The BMC has taken demolition action on the property twice...once in 2018 and then in February 2020. But, still the illegal construction is on," Sakhare said.

A police complaint has now been filed by the corporation, he added.

Justice Chavan then asked Sood''s lawyer if the actor was operating a hotel in the building without license.

"Are you conducting hotel business without license? You should come to the court with clean hands. If not, then you will have to face consequences," Justice Chavan said.

To this, Singh said Sood is not conducting a hotel business, but is running "a residential hotel in which flats are rented out to people".

Sood''s petition has sought the court to quash and set aside the notice issued by the BMC and an interim relief of no coercive action to be initiated against him.

Sood, who is known for his roles in films like "Dabangg", "Jodha Akbar" and "Simmba", came into spotlight last year for his philanthropy work in helping migrants reach their homes during the COVID-19 lockdown. 

(THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS)