In a major setback for the Hiranandani group, the Bombay High Court on Wednesday restrained the developer from carrying out any further construction on available open space in Powai Area Development Scheme (PADS) without prior permission of the court.
The division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice Roshan Dalvi has also directed the MMRDA chief to prepare, within four weeks, a detailed statement of total construction carried out in Powai, balance open land in the scheme area, number and area of tenements constructed, and a list of their purchasers.
The court has held that the developer can now construct only tenements admeasuring 40 sq m and 80 sq m–in accordance with parameters for affordable housing–in the available open space area in PADS. The court has also stated that the developer will require to construct 1,511 tenements admeasuring 40 sq m each and 1,593 tenements of 80 sq m each, and sell these tenements to the state at a concessional rate of Rs135 per sq ft.
Niranjan Hiranandani, MD, Hiranandani group, refused to comment on the development saying he could offer comments only after reading the copy of the high court order and understanding its full implications.
The court was hearing public interest litigations filed by social activist Medha Patkar and city residents Kamlakar Satve and Rajendra Thakkar seeking resumption of 230 acres of land of Powai and Tirandaz villages, taken over by MMRDA for planned development under PADS.
The main purpose of the scheme was to provide good quality affordable housing to the middle class population.
The petitioners alleged there was complete breach of a tripartite agreement executed between the state government, MMRDA and the Hiranandani Group, as power of attorney holders of the original landholders on November 19, 1986.
According to the agreement, the developer was to construct tenements admeasuring 40 square metres and 80 square metres only in equal proportion on the land available for construction, and hand over 15 per cent of the constructed area to the state government at Rs135 per square feet.
However, the petitioners alleged, the developer blatantly breached both these conditions and the officers of the MMRDA and state government turned a Nelson’s eye towards the violations. The petitioners alleged the negligence on part of the government officials was of criminal nature and, had, therefore sought their prosecution.
Though the court has granted the petitioners liberty to lodge criminal complaints against the concerned persons, the judges have refused to direct the authorities to initiate criminal proceedings as prayed for.
The court has now posted the matter for further hearing next month, when further orders are likely to be passed on the issue.