Slumdwellers and their societies do have a say in deciding developers for their rehabilitation, ruled the Bombay High Court on Monday while upholding a decision of the Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) to change developer for a slum rehabilitation project in Parel.
The division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice DY Chandrachud made the ruling while modifying a 2008 ruling of a division bench of the high court, which stated that slum dwellers can't be allowed to choose the developers as it would lead to unhealthy competition amongst developers.
The division bench observed, "The resolutions passed by the society (slum dwellers) cannot be ignored altogether." The court was hearing three petitions filed by Omkar Realtors and Developers Pvt Ltd, M/s Vilaytee Ram Mittal, and Khapridevi Co-operative Society.
Omkar Realtors had challenged a high-powered committee's decision of June 3, 2010, whereby the slum rehabilitation authority had ordered removal of the realtor, and had awarded contract to the petitioner.
The slum rehabilitation project was sanctioned way back in October 1995, and Vilayatee Ram Mittal was appointed developer in 2003. But in June 2005, the society passed a resolution and removed Vilayatee Ram Mittal as their developer.
In 2006, the SRA also removed Vilayatee Ram Mittal as its rehabilitation project had not progressed and it was found that the firm had encroached an adjoining plot of land.
The court has now directed the SRA to decide the fate of the structure built by Vilaytee Ram Mittal on the plot in question. Omkar Realtors will have to pay the cost of construction, if the authority decides to regularise the structure, otherwise it will be pulled down.