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SC admits leave petition of Mumbai-based NGO

Mumbai-based NGO Janhit Manch challenged the order of the Bombay HC, which permitted the release of TDR.

india Updated: Feb 13, 2007 00:42 IST

The fight for release of Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) in the corridor areas of the western and eastern suburbs for redevelopment projects will be now take place in the Supreme Court.

The apex court on Monday admitted the special leave petition (SLP) filed by Mumbai-based NGO Janhit Manch challenging the order of the Bombay High Court which had permitted the release of TDR. The SC has also issued notices to the respondents, the Maharashtra Government and several builders, said Bhagwanji Rayani, trustee of Janhit MAnch.

On November 20, 2006, a division bench of the Bombay High Court had permitted the government and the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to release TDR for redevelopment projects for slum rehabilitation. The HC had however restricted the deadline for regularisation of slums to January 1, 1995.

The corridors area consists of areas between the Western Railway line and SV Road, the Western Railway line and the Western Express highway and the Central Railway line and LBS Road.

On the submission of the advocate general, the High Court had also directed the Maharashtra Government to expeditiously complete the new Development Plan in order to implement it from 2011. the Maharashtra Government is in the process of formulating a new development plan for the city, the process for which would commence in 2008.

Janhit Manch which had filed the PIL in the High Court has filed the SLP in the SC challenging the release TDR in the Mumbai city stating that indiscriminate use of TDR was leading to haphazard urbanization without any proper planning of the city. The authorities were granting permission to use TDR without taking into consideration the existing infrastructure in the area.

The DCR 1991 has restrained use of TDR in corridor areas. However, an amendment was carried out in 1997 by the Maharashtra government permitting the use of TDR in these corridors for the purpose of slum rehabilitation projects.

Defending the amendment, the government contended that the amendment was carried out after considering all the factors and on the basis of recommendation of committee headed by senior bureaucrat DK Afzalpurkar in 1995. Besides the government had followed proper procedure before amendment in accordance with the law.

One of the reasons, the PIL was dismissed in the Bombay High Court was that there was nearly seven years of delay in filing the PIL. The PIL was filed in 2003 challenging an amendment carried out in 1997.

Maharashtra Government had opposed the PIL filed by Janhit Manch stating that the government has been able to develop 30 sites for various reservations as earmarked in DP and has also been able to implement 23 schemes vital for public purpose.

Since 1997, the government has completed 99 schemes of slum rehabilitation and 13 schemes of project affected people housing for MUTP leading to rehabilitation of over 90,000 slum dwellers.

A division bench headed by Justice AP Shah had in July 2004, restrained the BMC from allowing the use of TDR to construct buildings in prohibited corridors. In November 2004, a division bench Justice FI Rebello and Justice DY Chandrachud had vacated the stay while rejecting the PIL.