The decision by a two member Supreme Court to refer the forest land case to a three-judge bench has put nearly five lakh residents in a quandary once again.
Lakhs of houses built on forest land in Thane, Mulund, Borivli and Kandivli were deemed illegal by the Bombay high court in March 2008.
The court had ordered demolition of such structures.
Residents affected by the order moved the Supreme Court, which asked the Central Empowered Committee to give its recommendations on the issue.
The committee had submitted its recommendations to the Supreme Court in June asking for regularisation of land after paying a nominal afforestation fee ranging from Rs. 6 to Rs. 600 per sq ft depending on when the flat was constructed.
The two-member bench of justice Aftab Alam and justice RM Lodha decided to refer the case to a three-member Supreme Court bench, which means that residents and builders can neither sell nor transfer their property and will now have to wait for a few more years before a solution is found.
Meanwhile, resident groups have been fighting the case say that they will take legal opinion and ask for expediting the case pertaining to lakhs of residents.
“Our case has been clubbed with parties like Godrej and other builders. We will be asking the court hear the resident's case on priority basis to provide us relief,” Prakash Padikkal convenor of the Hillside Residents Welfare Association said.