HC slams SRA over failure to complete rehabilitation in 13 years
The Bombay high court (HC) on Tuesday rapped the Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) for failing to take action towards the completion of slum rehabilitation scheme of Pali Parierawadi at Bandra (West), which is pending since the past thirteen years.
The division bench of justice SJ Kathawalla and justice RI Chagla said the authority cannot remain content merely by issuing a stop work notice and not take any further action, especially when slum dwellers are waiting for rehabilitation for around thirteen years. “This is absolutely ruthless,” the bench said on the apathetic approach of SRA officials.
The comment came in the wake of the fact that SRA on October 4, 2018 had issued a stop work notice after noticing that construction of the sale component buildings had started before the completion of rehab components. But, no further action was taken by SRA although the project is grossly delayed.
Irked that neither the SRA official present in court nor its lawyer could tell the court as to what SRA was supposed to do after issuance of a stop work notice, the bench had summoned SRA’s chief executive officer Deepak Kapoor. Accordingly, Kapoor was present in court on Tuesday for the hearing of a petition filed by Cyril Thomas Mecwan seeking a declaration that the amalgamation of the slum scheme being implemented by RKW Developers and neighbouring Adarsh Nagar slum scheme being implemented by Housing Development and Infrastructure Limited (HDIL) was illegal.
During the course of hearing, senior advocate Sachin Dhakephalkar, representing RKW Developers, informed the court that under the arrangement between the two developers, HDIL was to construct rehab buildings for both the projects while RKW Developers was to finance the construction by developing the sale components of both the projects jointly. But, HDIL is now not in a position to complete the rehab buildings.
He further said RKW Developers intends to complete the rehabilitation project and was willing to submit a proposal to that effect to the authority so that the slum scheme was completed expeditiously.
Judges accordingly allowed the developer to submit a proposal to SRA and directed Kapoor to consider it on its on merit. “There has to be some way out, otherwise the people (slum dwellers awaiting their rehabilitation) will be nowhere,” said the bench. “Ultimately, you will have to find a practical solution,” they told the CEO.
The court has granted two weeks to RKW Developers to submit its proposal to SRA.
The bench also asked Kapoor to reconstitute SRA’s panel of advocates after inviting applications by publishing necessary advertisements. Kapoor assured the court that he will reconstitute advocates panel in terms of the direction.
Court has posted Mecwan’s petition for further hearing after four weeks.