A co-operative housing society cannot be forced to get the redevelopment done through a developer if the members of the society express loss of faith and confidence in him on account of violation of agreement, the Bombay high court (HC) held on Monday.
In June 2009, Ideal Co-operative Housing Society in Juhu Scheme had invited expressions of interests from builders interested in redevelopment of their building. In March 2010, the general body of the society selected Gorwani Builders for the work.
A series of correspondence, including several proposals from the builder, took place between the parties. But, neither the expression of interest (EOI) nor the development agreement was executed. Consequently, Gorwani moved the court seeking a declaration that there is a legal contract between the housing society and his firm for the redevelopment work. He also sought a direction to the housing society to execute the development agreement in his favour or pay Rs15 crore towards damages. He also moved a plea for interim relief by way of injunction against the society.
Justice Kathawalla rejected the builder’s plea for relief primarily on grounds that he had deviated from the major plan of the society and that no concrete steps were taken for redevelopment of the building for four years.
The judge noted that the builder’s conduct showed that he was not willing to abide by the agreed terms, thereby causing a delay in executing the redevelopment project. Though the housing society wanted a residential-cum-commercial building and the residential component limited to the existing 24 members, the developer kept changing the plans and ultimately suggested a 14-storeyed residential tower.
The court noted that though the builder had agreed to provide a tenement with 900sqft carpet area to every member of the society and common amenities over and above the area, later, he started counting niches in the carpet area.
“This is a clear violation by the plaintiff [builder] of the terms of the EOI,” the judge said, while rejecting the builder’s plea.