Ruling in favour of a minority group of members opposing redevelopment of their housing society, the Bombay High Court, on Thursday, held that the developer could not seek their eviction without fulfilling the terms of the development agreement.
Justice SC Dharmadhikari dismissed the plea filed by the developer, M/s Tanishq Builders, seeking eviction of 10 members of Praja Cooperative Housing Society at Ghatkopar East, so that redevelopment could begin.
The detailed reasoned order is yet to be issued.
The developer had contended that 72 per cent of the members (46 out of the society’s 60 members) had given their consent for redevelopment, which had become necessary as the four buildings of the society were dilapidated.
Counsel for the developer, SU Kamdar, argued that all permissions had been obtained and a huge amount invested for the redevelopment, which was in jeopardy because of non-cooperation of a minority of the members. Counsel also highlighted the recent Bombay High Court judgements that a minority of members could not stall a redevelopment project.
Counsel for the minority members, Aniket Nikam, argued the Development Agreement provided that the builder would acquire the bit of land adjoining the society property and develop the entire area.
The members could not be asked to move until this was done.
Nikam pointed out that the land was given to the society back in 1970 for providing shelter to those from the lower income group, and the redevelopment would change the nature and composition of the society.
Besides, the outgoing expenses would be very high after redevelopment, which would be beyond the means of many of the original members. This would defeat the very purpose for which the land was allotted by the government.
On March 26, 2006, the society had appointed M/s Tanishq Builders as developer.
At the time, only 25 members had voted in favour of the builder but subsequently many more members joined them taking the number of those favouring redevelopment to 50.