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Unauthorised constructions in Delhi and Mumbai: Here are the rules, penalties and what not to do

Any changes in the approved structure or any new construction requires permissions from relevant local authorities. Read this piece to get a grasp of what you can and can not do in Delhi or Mumbai in terms of house constructions.

The recent news of demolition of the office premises of the actress Kangana Ranaut by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) made headlines due to speculations that such action was brought on due to political reasons.

However, the BMC contends to have posted a stop work notice based on about 11-14 violations at the said premises on September 8, 2020 and the flouting of which resulted in demolition.

Building laws are complex in India and it is important to know that any major home improvement or construction of a new building requires the permission/sanction of the relevant local authorities. The legal regime governing unauthorised constructions is governed by state and local laws rather than one pan India law.

Here’s a look at the laws and regulations governing unauthorised constructions in the cities of New Delhi and Mumbai.


The main statutes for governing the subject issue in New Delhi are Delhi Municipal Corporation Act, 1957 (DMC Act) and Delhi Development Act, 1957 (DDA Act).

  1. DDA Act

  • Master Plan for Delhi, 2021, notified on February 07, 200, is in force.

  • Development:Development includes carrying out of building, engineering, mining or other operations or making any material change in any building or land;

  • Sanction: Sanction is required to be obtained under Section 12 for any construction work

  • Penalty: Section 29 penalises any person who carries out any construction in contravention of the Master Plan or Zonal Plan or without or in contravention of the sanction can be penalised with imprisonment up to six months or a fine up to Rs 5,000.

  • Demolition: In case of any contravention, the Authority may, after issuing a show cause notice and giving a fair opportunity to be heard, order the demolishing of such structure, the expense of which shall be borne by the owner.

  • Stopping of development: The Authority can order to stop the development work if the same is in contravention of the Act

  • Sealing: The Authority is empowered to seal such premises under Section 31A of the Act.


  • Erection of building: Includes conversion of part of dwelling house not constructed for human habitation; conversion of building into religious place of worship; covering of open space between walls or buildings, etc.

  • Additions, repairs to building: Includes repair or construction of any part of building abutting a street, removal/reconstruction of principal staircase, division of one room into two, etc.

  • Permit: Applications have to be submitted before the Commissioner including documents, layout plans, etc.

  • Prohibition without the previous sanction: Commencement of any construction work is expressly prohibited without the previous sanction of the Commissioner

  • Demolition: After giving a show cause notice and providing a fair opportunity for hearing, the authority may order for the demolition or removal of such work which is in contravention of the Act or terms of sanction.

  • Demolition has to be carried out by the building owner within 5-15 days of receiving the order.

  • An appeal may be preferred against such an order before the Appellate Tribunal.

  • Stoppage of Work: The Authorities may, after sending a show case notice and providing the concerned person with fair opportunity to be heard, order for stoppage of construction work in contravention of the Act.

  • Alteration of Work: The Commissioner may order for alteration of construction of work in contravention of the Act.

  • Sealing: The Commissioner can order for sealing of any building for the above mentioned reasons.


In Maharashtra, specifically Mumbai, the following legislations are applicable:

  1. Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning Act, 1966 (MRTP)

  2. Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act, 1888

MRTP ACT, 1966

  • Permit: Section 44 mandates permission of Planning Authority for any construction.

  • Penalty: Persons who contravene provisions of the Act can be punished with imprisonment of one month extending upto 3 years along with fine of Rs. 2,000 – Rs. 5,000.

  • Demolition: The Authority may require the demolition of unauthorised construction to be done and is empowered to serve a notice to the owner for carrying out the same within one month.

  • Stoppage of unauthorised construction: The Authority may direct for stoppage of construction if the same is unauthorised, and any person not complying with such order can be imprisoned and fined.

  • Removal: The Authority may direct for removal of a structure or discontinuance of unauthorised land use within 15 days.

MMC ACT, 1888

  • Notice for Erecting Building: Any person intending to erect a new building, which includes addition of floors, conversion of one dwelling house into more than one house, etc., shall give notice to the Commissioner.

  • Documentation: The Commissioner thereafter may direct the person to furnish plans and sections of floors, specifications of work.

  • Notice for Other Construction Work: This includes division of one room into two, conversion of passage or hallway into room, removal or reconstruction of any part abutting on a street, etc.

  • Prohibited Construction: These include back to back buildings, overcrowding dwellings etc.

  • Demolition:
    Unsanitary Building- Notice is served upon owner wherein 21 days are granted to provide a plan for improving the same, failure to do the same can result in demolition order by Commissioner which shall be carried out after 28 days.Obstructive Building- A building obstructing ventilation or carrying out of any activity necessary for sanitation purposes can be ordered to be demolished and a period of 2 months is granted for vacating the same appeal can be preferred in a Small Causes CourtPenalty: As per Section 152A, if any person constructs a building or any part in contravention of the Act or without the requisite permission, they are liable to pay a yearly penalty of twice the property tax leviable on such building, so long as it remains unlawful.

Based on the above, it can be concluded that any changes in existing approved structure of a building or any new construction requires sanctions and permissions from relevant local authorities. Any deviation from the approved building plan could lead to coercive action including complete or partial demolition of unauthorised structures.
Rohan Ahuja
first published: Sep 21, 2020 12:16 pm