In a setback to Rizvi Builders, the Bombay high court, on Friday, set aside the commencement certificate granted to them for redevelopment of a 7,500 square yard plot in Tardeo.
A division bench of justice DK Deshmukh and justice KK Tated was hearing a petition filed in 1994 by the occupants and tenants of the buildings of Parsi Central Association Co-operative Housing Society (PCACHS).
The court observed, “In a public policy, the developer-builder cannot be permitted to construct as this would enable them to sell flats and make huge profits without fulfilling their obligation of accommodating existing occupants and handing over 2,250 square yards to the civic corporation for a school.”
The petitioners had claimed that the plot at Forjet Street in Tardeo was reserved for public housing and a municipal school under a development plan (DP) sanctioned in 1960. Initially, the PCACHS had proposed to redevelop the plot by housing the dishoused and accommodating all 110 occupants. They had also said 2,250 square yards of the plot would be handed over to the BMC. In lieu of that, they had requested the BMC to cancel its reservation under the DP.
The government and BMC conceded on condition that PCACHS re-house all tenants on the same plot. The PCACHS then sold the plot to Rizvi builders in 1993. Rizvi, thereafter, approached the BMC to temporarily waive the condition of submitting an agreement of all occupants for re-housing them on the same plot. The corporation even waived this condition and granted a commencement certificate up to the plinth level. The occupants challenged this in court.
The petitioner’s lawyers Joaquin Reis and Yadunath Choudhary argued that the builder had not even proposed a building for the occupants in their plan and had instead constructed a free-sale building for outsiders. Advocate EP Bharucha and Parag Sharma, counsels for Rizvi builders and PCACHS, said their obligation to enter into an agreement with occupants was only when they proposed to give the 2,250 square yard plot to the BMC for a municipal school.
Upholding Reis’s arguments, the court observed that unless the developer executed an agreement with the occupants, they could not commence construction.