The Bombay High Court, on Thursday, paved the way for the redevelopment of a 16-hectare plot at Aaramnagar, Versova, by dismissing a petition by eight residents alleging that the majority of the members were opposed to the redevelopment under which Mhada would get 4 lakh square feet constructed area free of cost.
A division bench, comprising chief justice Mohit Shah and justice R P Sondurbaldota, rejected the petitioner’s contention that their consent was manipulated, and it was necessary to verify the consent before proceeding with the redevelopment scheme.
The bench observed that there was no need to obtain consent of tenants since the society had been registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860, and unlike a co-operative housing society, the executive body of the society had all powers to execute the development agreement.
The bench accepted the submission on behalf of the developer – East and West Builders – that the provisions of the Societies Registration Act empowered the executive body of the society to deal with its property. The bench also considered that the requirement of prior consents of more than 70 per cent of the tenants was introduced for the first time (Rule 35(5) of the Development Control Regulations for the city) in December 2008.
Counsel for the developer, Navroj Seervai, had pointed out that the development agreement was entered into in September 2004 – much before the provision of DCR came into force.
The petitioner’s counsel, Shreehari Ane, argued that the executive body had clandestinely entered into a development agreement on the basis of a resolution passed during a general body meeting, that, he says, had never even taken place.
The senior lawyer had also claimed 237 of the total 357 members of Aaramnagar Society were opposed to the redevelopment.
Ane alleged the redevelopment was imposed upon the members in connivance with the builder.
The society’s counsel MP Vashi said at one point, the strength of the petitioner group (opposing the redevelopment) was 12 and subsequently dropped to 8.
The society, the developer, and Mhada, which owns the land, revised the tripartite agreement for redevelopment of the 16-hectare plot in July 2009. Under the fresh agreement, the builder will construct 100 row houses, 257 flats measuring 1,230 square feet each for the tenants, and the balance area will see three multi-storeyed buildings.