HC to decide if those opposing redevelopment can be evicted | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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HC to decide if those opposing redevelopment can be evicted

It is a decision that is likely to impact several redevelopment projects held up because a few members of the housing society are opposed to it.

mumbai Updated: Mar 04, 2010 01:56 IST
Kanchan Chaudhari

It is a decision that is likely to impact several redevelopment projects held up because a few members of the housing society are opposed to it.

The Bombay High Court will decide if the police can evict members of a housing society opposing redevelopment of a dilapidated building, even though they are in a minority.

Pankaj Mhatre, a resident of Saptarshi building in Thane, has filed a petition in the HC seeking directions for the Naupada police to comply with a notice issued by the Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC). The TMC had asked the police to evict the two members, who are opposing the redevelopment of their building.

A structural engineer with the TMC had declared Saptarshi building unsafe for inhabitation in December 2002. Despite this, Aparna Puranik and M.V. Boricha refused to vacate their flats.

After the two families refused to vacate their flats, the municipal corporation had issued a notice under section 268(5) of the Bombay Provincial Municipalities Act, 1949, to the officer in charge of the Naupada police station. Mhatre, however, claimed the police have refused to act on the notice unless there was a court order to evict the families.

In April 2007, a state government-appointed committee also concluded that the three-storey structure was dilapidated.

After the committee report, the society members entered into an agreement for redevelopment and vacated their flats. The members have moved into rental accommodation.

But, according to Mhatre’s petition, the redevelopment work has come to a standstill because Puranik and Boricha refused to sign be part of the agreement or vacate their flats.

The two members are, however, questioning the conclusion that their building is dilapidated. “The building is just 30 years old. How could it be dilapidated?” their lawyer, Amardev Uniyal, asked while replying to the petition on Tuesday. He also argued that the property was an apartment and all members were entitled to an equal share in the redevelopment of the building.

A division bench of Justice Ranjana Desai and Justice Mridula Bhatkar adjourned the hearing on the petition for a week hoping the warring factions may arrive at an amicable settlement.