The developer of Loknayak Nagar slums in Andheri (East) cannot built on additional plot admeasuring 20,000 sqm owned by MHADA, which purportedly never had any hutments.
The division bench of Justice BH Marlapalle and Justice UD Salvi has directed the developer, Bombay Slums Redevelopment Corporation, to maintain status quo on the construction.
The court was hearing a public interest litigation by Boisar resident Anil Sadanand Shelar, who sought investigation into the SRA projects taken up by Bombay Slums Redevelopment Corporation alleging discrepancies in allotment of land for the SRA project.
The developer has taken up joint redevelopment of three slums in Andheri (East) - Loknayak Nagar, Shivaji Nagar and the New Kapaswadi.
According to the documents annexed to the PIL, Slum Rehabilitation Authority had cleared the project way back in October 1996.
The MHADA had issued first Letter of Intent on January 8, 2003, for 40,166 sqm for redevelopment of Loknayak Nagar and rehabilitation of 1,010 hutment dwellers.
In May 2009, the area was increased to 59,086 sqm.
What irked the judges was the fact that the added area, owned by MHADA, had never been occupied by any hutment. Actress Shabana Azmi had, in July 2002, protested against the inclusion of completely non-slum area in the SRA project. She had specifically pointed out in her letter to the SRA that the added area had never been occupied by slums, and therefore could not have been included in a slum rehabilitation project.
After the judges expressed their intention to restrain the developer, its counsel S Surana protested saying in that case, the developer would not be in a position to continue with the project even in remaining area.
"The whole project would be put at jeopardy," said Surana adding, "In that case, it would difficult for us to identify hutment dwellers to be rehabilitated on specific plots."
He pointed out to the court that the developer had already constructed four rehab buildings and work on remaining rehab buildings was going on.
But, the contention failed to impress the judges.