The Bombay high court on Tuesday stated that a retired district judge should be appointed to look into the records of housing allotments under the chief minister’s discretionary quota.
A public interest litigation (PIL), filed by former journalist Ketan Tirodkar, has alleged that ministers and their kin were allotted flats more than once under the quota, after failing to disclose that they were related to those who had already been allotted flats.
Stating that “this may be the tip of the iceberg”, the division bench of justice AS Oka and justice GS Kulkarni observed that it was necessary for an appointed officer to peruse the records and see what kind of undertakings had been given when applying for flats and what action had been taken in case of double allotments and so on.
The chief minister has two quotas based on which he/she can allot flats – 2% of those built by the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA), and 5% of those built under the Urban Land Ceiling Act.
While hearing a different petition in February, the high court had restrained the government from making certain allotments under the chief minister’s discretionary quota.
The advocate general Darius Khambata informed the court that more than 1,500 flats were lying vacant through the quota. “There will have to be a new policy,” he said.
The court will now take up the matter on September 29. The advocate general will have to inform the court if the state has any objections to a retired district judge being appointed to address the issue.