Reacting to HT’s report about the alleged forcible eviction of a 53-year-old retired school teacher from a rented Santacruz home, rendering her homeless for the past two months a lawyer has approached this newspaper offering free legal aid to the woman.
Nita Chotalal was allegedly locked out of the apartment in Prem Villa, Santacruz, on July 20. On July 6 this year, her mother passed away, and two weeks later her landlords denied her entry to the house, claiming her mother was its sole tenant, she said. Since then, she has been moving from one acquaintance’s house to another.
While she had filed an FIR at the Santacruz police station against her landlord, Surjit Singh Chandhok and his son Princey, no arrests have been made in the case so far. The police said that the duo allegedly changed the locks of the home. While Chotalal told the police that she has been staying with her mother, the landlords, in their statement to the police, claimed that Chotalal’s mother was the sole tenant.
Saleem Shaikh, a Pune-based advocate and social activist told HT, “I read the report and I think she needs legal help, which I am ready to provide. Since she has been in trouble for the last two months, I want to offer free legal counsel.”
The Santacruz police, investigating the case, had not arrested the accused in the last two months despite adding sections of theft and housebreaking along with trespassing. The accused recently applied for anticipatory bail and have been granted interim relief till October 10.
“We will oppose the relief granted to the duo in the next hearing, which is on October 10. Since there is a dispute between the landlord and tenant, we are requesting the court to allow us to seal the flat,” said Bhimshankar Dhole, who is the investigating officer of the case.
A file photo of Neeta Chotalal. (HT photo)