BMC asked to pay Rs 28.38 lakh for using Byculla building as quarantine facility for Covid-19 patients
A two-member division bench of the court said civic body authorities would have to pay transit rent to the building’s tenants from April 24 and also ordered to clear the arrears within 15 days and pay the regular monthly rent to each of the tenants from Wednesday.Updated: Jun 24, 2020 13:10 IST
Bombay high court (HC) has ordered the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) authorities to pay a monthly sum of Rs 28.38 lakh as expenses to keep around 950 high-risk contacts of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) patients under institutional quarantine in a private building.
These high-risk contacts are from the civic body’s E ward and are lodged at a newly constructed building in Byculla, which has been converted into a makeshift institutional quarantine facility.
The court last week allowed the BMC authorities to use the building that has been constructed by Neelkamal Realtors Tower on condition of paying transit rent for 218 residential and commercial tenants for temporarily taking over the property as an institutional quarantine facility.
A two-member division bench of the court, comprising Justices SJ Kathawalla and NR Borkar, said the civic body authorities would have to pay transit rent to the building’s tenants from April 24 – the date on which it took over the property and also ordered to clear the arrears within 15 days and pay the regular monthly rent to each of the tenants from Wednesday (June 24).
The court allowed the use of the building as an institutional quarantine facility since the majority of its tenants didn’t object to the BMC’s move.
However, nine tenants filed an intervention application through advocate Vivek Shukla, objecting to the civic body’s temporary requisition of the building.
The court passed the order on a plea filed by Neelkamal Realtors Tower, challenging the validity of a clause of the Maharashtra Covid-19 Regulations, 2020, which empowered the revenue and civic authorities to requisition private buildings.
The developer also questioned the BMC’s decision to take over a building that has been constructed as part of the Byculla rehabilitation project.
BMC responded to the plea, contending the lack of appropriate space for institutional quarantine facilities amid a spike in Covid-19 positive cases and their high-risk contacts in the E ward.
Senior advocate Anil Sakhare, who represented the civic body, said 975 people have tested Covid-19 positive at E ward, and 2,699 are high-risk contacts, who need to be quarantined immediately.
The civic body authorities have converted 234 flats in Neelkamal Realtors Tower into a makeshift quarantine facility.
It has a capacity of 1,000 beds of which 950 are currently occupied.