The Bombay high court (HC) recently restrained a developer from creating third party rights in a building he constructed on a plot meant for the expansion of BYL Nair hospital, Mumbai Central.
Third party rights would allow the builder to sell, mortgage or otherwise dispose of the plot, adjacent to the hospital.
“It appears to us that the transfer effected in favour of the fifth respondent [the builder] is illegal,” said the division bench of Justice Abhay Oka and justice Ashok Bhangale, hearing a public interest litigation (PIL).
The PIL was filed by Agripada resident Imran Qureshi, alleging a 4,914-sqft plot, acquired by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) 21 years ago for the extension of Nair hospital, was illegally purchased by Rubberwala Developers Private Limited and unauthorised construction was being carried out on it.
According to Qureshi’s counsel, the BMC acquired the plot from its owner, Naliniben Amin, in October 1992 for Rs 3.01crore. The land was meant for a hostel facility for the relatives of the hospital’s patients.
Four years later, the civic body temporarily allotted part of the plot, with a godown on it, to the original owner. Qureshi alleged the woman then illegally assigned and transferred her tenancy rights to Rubberwala Developers.
Qureshi further claimed the developer demolished the godown, and under the guise of repairs, constructed unauthorised structures on the plot. After complaints to civic officials, the BMC ordered the developer not to construct any permanent structures in place of the godown. However, the petition alleges, the civic chief allowed the repairing of the non-existent structure because of pressure from a Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA), and a new permanent structure was constructed in place of the godown. This structure is being used by the developer as his office.
Qureshi, therefore, sought a direction from the court cancelling the repair permission and the BMC taking back possession of the property.
The counsel for the developer claimed Qureshi, as a rival builder, did not have the legal authority to file a PIL in the matter. The HC, however, ruled the plea deserved to be entertained as a suo-motu petition.