Consent given for a slum rehabilitation project cannot be withdrawn without following the due process of law, the Bombay high court reiterated last week while clearing the way for the redevelopment project in Andheri (West).
The division bench of justice DY Chandrachud and justice Amjad Sayed made this observation while rejecting a petition filed by 21 residents of the Meer Hussain Tangewala Chawl in Andheri (west), seeking to withdraw consent given for the Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) project in order to replace the developer appointed by them earlier. “Otherwise, sanctioned schemes would be liable to be obstructed and slum dwellers would become only instruments in proxy battles between rival developers,” the bench added.
The chawl residents had approached the High Powered Committee (HPC), alleging they had not given their consent to the developer appointed for the project and their consents had been forged. The HPC heard their arguments and dismissed their plea on October 30, 2010. The residents then moved court.
The HC, however, upheld the HPC’s findings. “The HPC was justified in coming to the conclusion that the proceedings presented a proxy battle between two developers,” the bench observed. The court also took into consideration the progress of the project, as most of the occupants had vacated their dwellings and one of the buildings, which will rehabilitate 68 eligible slum dwellers, was complete.
Apart from rehabilitation of the 68 slum dwellers settled on the civic body-owned plot, the project includes the construction of a municipal market, 81 tenements for project affected persons and other amenities.