Sopan vs. Municipal Corporation of Maharashtra: Setting Precedence for Demolition Notice Periods

Explore the significant legal case of Sopan vs. Municipal Corporation of Maharashtra, where the Supreme Court of India delivered a notable judgment regarding the notice periods for demolition. This ruling has far-reaching impacts on city planning and urban development strategies, setting a precedent for ensuring proper procedure and adherence to the law in such cases.


  • The main issue in these appeals is whether there was a breach of contract by Party A
  • The appeals revolve around the interpretation of the contractual terms between Party A and Party B
  • The core question is whether Party A fulfilled its obligations as per the contract
  • The parties disagree on the extent of performance required under the contract

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  • Shri Atmaram N. Nadkarni, learned Additional Solicitor General, argues that an amendment to Section 351 now requires a 7-day notice period instead of the 15 days mentioned in the earlier case of Sopan.
  • The appellant contends that this amendment invalidates the first direction in Sopan’s case, which mandated a 15-day notice period for demolition of building structures.
  • The main dispute revolves around the direction in Sopan’s case regarding the notice period for demolition, with the appellant emphasizing the change in legislation as grounds for the invalidity of the prior ruling.
  • The second direction in Sopan’s case requiring 15 days’ notice before demolition is still valid.
  • Mr. Bharat Zaveri, learned counsel for the respondents, highlighted this point.
  • 15 days’ notice must be given to the affected person before any demolition of a structure.

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  • The judgment in Sopan’s case holds the field till date, directing a 15 days notice before demolition
  • Emphasis on obtaining permission for repairs not falling under tenantable repairs as per Section 347
  • Direction in Sopan’s case for issuing show cause notice and timeline for demolition
  • The Court cautioned against granting interim injunctions protecting illegal constructions from demolition
  • The need for geomapping new areas under municipal jurisdiction for better city planning
  • Compensation can be awarded for illegal demolitions, to be recovered from responsible officers
  • The importance of following procedure and rule of law in dealing with illegal constructions
  • Technology such as GIS can aid in geomapping and addressing illegal constructions efficiently
  • Discussion on the need for balanced approach between private and public interest in demolition cases
  • Understanding the provisions of the Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act for demolition and reconstruction
  • Caution against approving directions that may violate laws or lead to misutilization of resources
  • The requirement of serving notices and obtaining permissions before construction or repairs as per the Act
  • Advancement in technology and adoption of modern tools for better urban planning
  • Importance of clarity in court orders permitting reconstruction of demolished structures
  • Referenced various provisions of law during the interpretation
  • Issued specific directions based on the findings
  • Highlighted the importance of adherence to the law
  • Indicated the legal basis for the directions given
  • Notice must be served personally on the person responsible for the illegal structure.
  • Notice can also be sent electronically through email or mobile phones.
  • Designated officer to issue written notice if building is commenced contrary to the provisions.
  • Builder, occupier, owner must submit reply within 7 days to show cause why building should not be demolished.
  • Permission required for any addition, alteration, or change in use of building.
  • Permission needed for alterations or repairs involving removal or alteration of any part of the building.
  • Prohibition on lowering of plinth, foundation, or floors in the building.
  • Definition of tenantable repairs provided.
  • Section 351 deals with proceedings for buildings or work commenced contrary to Section 347.

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  • The Commissioner/Competent Authority shall send photographs and visual images clearly depicting the illegal structure before issuing any demolition order.
  • If the reply to the demolition notice is not satisfactory, the owner/occupier/builder/contractor/architect has 7 days’ notice before demolition.
  • During this period, the owner/occupier/builder/contractor/architect can approach the appellate/revisional authority or the High Court.
  • In case of ongoing construction in violation of laws, a show cause notice with 24 hours notice must be issued before any action is taken.
  • Municipal corporations in Maharashtra with a population of 50 lakhs or more must complete geomapping and geo-photography within one year.
  • Funds must be made available to municipal corporations within a year to handle violations of building laws.
  • Illegal buildings must be issued a show cause notice with 7 days to reply, and a reasoned order must be passed by the Commissioner/Competent Authority.
  • The State must ensure availability of funds for municipal corporations within a year from the date of the order.
  • Copies of the judgment must be served to the Chief Secretary, State of Maharashtra, and Principal Secretary, Urban Development Department for dissemination to all municipal corporations in the state.


Case Number: C.A. No.-007627-007627 / 2019

Click here to read/download original judgement

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