Mumbai: ‘OC rules will make lakhs homeless’

Builders and architects will be penalised for handing over flats without proper certificates. As per the rules, a builder will have to obtain an OC before handing over possession of the flat to the buyer. The buyer is not allowed to occupy the flat or carry out any fittings till the cerfticate is issued.

Mumbai: Criticising Maharashtra govt’s new Occupation Certificate policy, Congress member of Legislative Council Anant Gadgil said that the State’s move to make builders and architects liable for prosecution for flats which are handed over to buyers without Occupation Certificate (OC) may make lakhs of residents across Mumbai homeless.

Speaking to reporters, Gadgil argued that according to conservative estimates, there are about 75,000 to 1 lakh flats in buildings across Mumbai that do not have OC. Gadgil, an architect himself by profession, is perplexed at the government move to hold architects responsible for an act of negligence by the builder and the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporations (BMC) Executive Engineer.

According to Gadgil the issue was related to one such building in Sion where the occupants were served notices by the BMC for eviction. At present the Bombay High Court has granted a stay to the order passed by Additional Metropolitan Court, Mumbai which had ordered lodging of FIR against the guilty BMC officials. Gadgil argues that the danger here is if the Bombay High Court passes order applying the government order to the rest of Mumbai it will render at least a lakh of residents of such buildings homeless.

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had announced that the government will soon set up a committee that will draft new rules in this matter. Under Section 3 (2) (I) of the Maharashtra Ownership Flats Act, a builder is required to obtain an OC before handing over the possession of the flat to the buyer. The buyer is not allowed to occupy the flat or carry out any fittings till the OC is granted.

Chief Minister had further stated that in cases where the builder gives possession to original tenants without getting the OC, the builder after handing over the possession stops payment of rent to the tenants. Therefore, as per provisions of the Development Control Rules and BMC Act section 353-A/471, action is taken against concerned builder, architect and occupant resident for taking possession without complying with the Development Control (DC) Rules and BMC Act provisions. He further added that in such cases fines are imposed on the concerned parties.

Gadgil said that the Kurla sessions court had ordered lodging an FIR against BMC Executive Engineers for not having an OC for a building in Sion. He added that a fortnight ago the BMC has started pasting show cause notices on the premises of buildings that do not have an OC asking the occupants to pay up the fines or face eviction.

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