In an order that could significantly impact the pace of several redevelopment projects in the city, the Bombay high court has ruled that residents must be held to the consent they give to proposed redevelopment schemes.
A division bench of justice DY Chandrachud and justice RD Dhanuka, while granting relief to a developer appointed to redevelop Wakadi chawl in Mahim, observed that “no scheme for redevelopment could possibly proceed if occupants were permitted to withdraw consents”.
The court was hearing a petition filed by Bevenu Infra Projects Pvt Ltd, which had proposed to redevelop the chawls in March 2010. The petitioners said that some occupants, allegedly supported by “builders and politicians”, had withdrawn their consents and sought to form a new association of tenants hoping to replace them.
The court observed that the developer had complied with all rules and regulations and had also obtained consent from more than 70% of the residents. However, a No-Objection Certificate (NOC) had not been granted by the Repair Board.
An inquiry by the chief officer of the board found that the consents granted were original and legal. However, the rival group alleged irregularities on the builder’s part and contended that they could withdraw the consent as the NOC was pending. Following this, the court quashed the order by a high-powered committee that had asked the Repair Board to verify the consents again.