A bench of justices S C Dharmadhikari and Anuja Prabhudesai said the state has exercised its power not to defeat the purpose of a law that regulates construction and development, but to ensure that civic and state bodies take “measures to preserve ecology and prevent environmental damage, accidents resulting in loss of human life and property.’’ 

The high court dismissed a clutch of petitions filed by members of housing societies and builders from Mumbai and Pune challenging two orders of the National Green Tribunal in Pune and the November 2017 hilltop policy. 

The bench found no merit in the submissions as it amounted to illegally altering the development plans for these cities and held that the state “cannot be faulted’’. 

The state had, on November 14, last year, using its powers under Maharashtra Regional Town Planning Act, a law meant to regulate real estate development, directed that no development is permissible on hilltops and slopes having depth of less than 1.5km and that an area of 100ft surrounding or abutting the hills should not be used for construction but declared ‘non-buildable.’