Kamla Shah (name changed) has been doing the rounds of the Co-Operatives Act court since 1987.
That’s when the housing society of the Pedder Road apartment in which the 47-year-old owns a flat — filed a case against her and the occupant of her flat, asking for the occupant’s eviction, claiming Shah had no permission from the society to sub-let her flat.
“This case has gone through so many judges… when we get a new judge, our lawyers spend time just apprising them of the case all over again,” says Shah, who teaches at a south Mumbai school and did not want her identity revealed fearing it will jeopordise her case.
The Bombay High Court had directed the Co-operative Court (CC) to dispose of the case in six months — that was two years ago.
Shah’s is one of the 3,000 pending cases in the Mumbai CC, and the Maharashtra Co-operative Courts Bar Association (MCCBA) says that pile-up is because judges appointed to the CC are under-qualified for the job.
“The judges named to CCs are on their first appointment. They normally avoid taking up heavy matters, and tend to adjourn cases for long periods,” says Ramesh Desai, advocate, and MCCBA chairman, adding that some times, even when hearings are complete, orders are not passed for extended durations.
Another example is C D Cohila, a London-based businessman who filed a case in 1992, against Narita CHS, at Andheri, saying he was allotted a flat in the building but found possession of the flat went to someone else.
Final arguments are still being heard.
A letter written by advocate Kanchan Chimbulkar, MCCBA secretary, to the HC chief justice also names P.G. Jagdale, the president of the Maharashtra State Co-operative Appellate Court, saying he begins work only after 12.30 pm, when the court’s working hours are from 11 am to 5 pm, with a one-hour lunch break.
“We have not noticed any improvement in his behaviour and attitude,” even after he was summoned by the HC, the letter says.