The Bombay High Court in the case of Sadik Ali Mohammed Ali Noorani v. State of Maharashtra & Ors, was deeply concerned about the preservation of heritage buildings in the city of Mumbai while suspending the demolition notices of “Esplanade Mansion” issued by Maharashtra Housing& Area Development Authority (MHADA).
The Court observed that there is “dismal” implementation of laws to protect privately owned heritage structures that have added to Mumbai’s “glory” and “fame”.
It questioned the State Government and its authorities like MHADA and Municipal Corporation on the implementation of effective measures to preserve the heritage buildings in the city.
The Court further said that if the authorities devised effective mechanisms by conforming to the laws, the situation and fate of buildings like “Esplanade Mansion” would not have been this as it is today. It even said that much older buildings of the world have been preserved and have maintained the glory of cities with timely maintenance. It added that it is impossible to build such buildings in contemporary times and a positive approach in this regard would go long way in the maintenance and preservation of these buildings.
“Esplanade Mansion”, is a dilapidated UNESCO World Heritage Site that is only one of the two cast iron structures in the world. The monument also known as Watson Hotel was listed in 100 most endangered sites in 2006.
The petitioner had knocked on the doors of the court for restoration and repair of the building, so the court asked the petitioner to move his plea to the heritage committee within six weeks from the date of the case and the committee shall consider the application and take appropriate decision in accordance with the law.