The Bombay High Court directed the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) to unlock the tenement of one Daraksha Usmani at Govandi in an SRA building which it locked in March claiming that she was not eligible for the same, despite having given her an allotment letter in May 2009.
A division bench of Justices Revati Dere and Madhav Jamdar, early this month, directed the MMRDA to unlock the tenement which it locked when she was away at native place on March 2. The HC was hearing a petition filed by hear seeking to unlock her tenement.
According to Usmani's plea, who lived in an SRA building at Govandi, when she returned from her native place, she found her tenement locked by MMRDA.
Usmani and her family used to stay in a hutment at Powai since before 1995. The slum area was surveyed and Usamani was found eligible for rehabilitation under the SRA scheme. Her hutment was washed away along with all her belongings in July 2005, when Mumbai was hit with heavy rains and storms which flooded the entire city.
A year later, MMRDA decided to allot alternate tenements to those who were affected by the Mithi River Development Project (MRDP), including Usmani. Accordingly, she was allotted tenement at Govandi by allotment letter dated 24th May 2009. She has been staying there ever since.
However, on August 30, 2011, Usmani received a notice from the MMRDA Commissioner questioning her eligibility for Project Affected Person (PAP) tenement. She attended a hearing by the MMRDA and submitted relevant documents. However, thereafter nothing was heard for about 9 years, claimed her plea.
Later on January 28, 2019, MMRDA Commissioner filed an appeal before the Additional Collector under the Slum Areas ( Improvement, Clearance and Redevelopment) Act challenging the eligibility letter issued to Usmani in 2009.
Usmani claimed that an order was passed cancelling her eligibility without giving her a hearing. Only under the Right to Information Act, Usmani claims, that she was given the August 8, 2019, order copy passed by the Additional Collector of MMRDA cancelling her eligibility. She was then given an order on May 24, 2021 directing her to vacate the tenement.
She then filed an appeal before the GRC, which is pending.
The HC noted that the records clearly showed that Usmani was found to be eligible and was given an allotment letter in 2009. “It is admitted position that the Petitioner’s belongings were in the said tenement when the Respondent No.1-Commissioner, MMRDA has put lock on the said tenement on 2nd March 2022,” it added.
Directing the MMRDA to open the lock, the HC has directed the GRC to pass an order in Usmani's appeal by July first week. In case, the appeal is decided against Usmani, then she has been directed to “handover the quite, vacant and peaceful possession of the said tenement” to MMRDA subject to her right to challenge the said order.
As per court directions, Usmani has given an undertaking that pending hearing in the appeal by GRC, she will not create any third party right, title and interest in respect of the said tenement.