Transfer Development Rights (TDR) — which is awarded to plot owners in lieu of land that is taken over for development — cannot be awarded in the case of lands reserved for the development prior to 1991, the Bombay High Court ruled on Thursday.
A division bench of Justice F.I. Rebello and Justice J.H. Bhatia on Tuesday quashed TDR awarded by minister of urban development department (UDD) to Gajanan Kanthi and his six siblings in 1998.
In January 1955, an arbitrator was appointed to decide on the compensation amount to be given to the original owners, Tarachand Kalyanji.
On August 15, 1963, the corporation issued a notification under the town planning scheme IV stating “all lands required by corporation are vested in it absolutely free of all encumbrances.” Neither Kalyanji nor his family claimed the compensation.
In 1965, part of the plot sold to the family of Gajanan Kanthi’s six siblings was attached by the income tax department to recover tax. In 1990s, the Kanthi family sought permission from the BMC to develop the plot which the corporation denied stating that the “right and title” of the property vests with them.
The Kanthis appealed before the UDD minister who passed an order in April 1998 saying that since neither Kalyanji nor Kanthi had claimed compensation, they should be granted TDR. The minister agreed that the ownership of the land vested with the BMC.
The corporation challenged the order in the high court contending that the ministers did not have the powers to grant.
TDR was introduced only in the Development Control Regulations in 1991. “The minister could have either dismissed Kanthis’ appeal or allowed it with some conditions,” said the BMC. The HC set aside the order of granting TDR to Kanthis.