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HC to decide on tenants’ rights

mumbai Updated: Feb 17, 2010 01:37 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
HC to decide on tenants’ rights

A division bench of the Bombay High Court will decide whether tenants of a housing society can withdraw their consent for redevelopment of the society.

Nineteen tenants of Ganesh Krupa Housing Society in Kher Nagar in Bandra have approached the division bench of the HC after a single judge — Justice S.J. Kathawalla — rejected their petition on February 4.

The tenants had challenged the eviction notice issued by Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) after they withdrew their consent to redevelop the society. Rejecting the petition, Justice Kathawalla had observed that permitting such withdrawals would encourage society members to use it to blackmail developers.

Challenging the order, the tenants have claimed that the Mumbai Housing Area Development Board did not have the power to initiate eviction proceedings against them. The Mumbai Building Repair and Reconstruction Board had the jurisdiction, they added.

Appearing for MHADA, government pleader G.W. Mattos said these were the same grounds on which they had challenged their eviction notice before the single judge.

“How can they then agitate on the same ground before division bench?” asked Mattos.

MHADA had developed the Kher Nagar Colony and Kala Nagar in the 1960s and 1970s as affordable housing projects. These tenements were initially given on tenancy basis. The flats were then given on ownership basis in the 1980s.

MHADA undertook redevelopment of these buildings as they are in dilapidated condition. One of these was the Ganesh Krupa Housing Society, which houses 54 flats.

According to the redevelopment rules, consent of 70 per cent of the owners is required for its redevelopment proposal.

In 2003, the BMC and MHADA approved the redevelopment of the society after 45 families (83 per cent) of the housing society had given their consent.

In 2007, 10 members of the society withdrew their consent given for redevelopment. By then, 34 flat owners had already vacated their tenements.

The 19 families then opposed the redevelopment saying they did not have required 70 per cent consent and hence the society could not be redeveloped.