Asking the tenants of a cessed building in Girgaum to be “extremely cautious”, the Bombay High Court said that they should take an “informed decision” on appointing a developer for completing the redevelopment of their building which has been stalled since a decade.
A division bench of Justices Gautam Patel and Neela Gokhale said, “…We are advising you to be suspicious.”
44 tenants are out of their homes since 2013
The court had taken suo motu (on its own) cognisance of the plight of tenants of cessed buildings where redevelopment is halted. The HC was hearing a petition by 44 tenants of Ratilal Mansion, who are out of their homes since 2013, and not paid transit rent. The redevelopment project was stalled by the developer who has become insolvent.
During the hearing on Thursday, advocate for Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA), PG Lad, submitted a structural audit report which said the unfinished building requires repairs and is not required to be demolished. Lad also said that MHADA is willing to take over the project.
The judges said tenants should allow MHADA to complete the project and it would also avail additional Floor Space Index (FSI) for free sale or for project affected persons.
However , advocate Gautam Ankhad, appearing for the tenants, said they are having discussions with two developers.
The judges remarked that tenants need to check the financial stability of the developer as they do not want history repeating itself. “There are people (developers) who promise all kinds of things… looks glossy to society members. It may seem tempting, but you have already been burnt by it…,” said justice Patel.
“Choose correctly”: Bomaby HC
They further added that MHADA had a ready source of funds and hence the tenants must “choose correctly”.
The court noted in its order that tenants have two choices. One is to complete the redevelopment work through MHADA. However, it clarified that the body will not pay rent arrears since 2013 after members sign a contract. In this case, MHADA will be entitled to get the benefits such as free sale.
The second option is to appoint a new developer who would get the benefit and would pay transit rent from the time of appointment, the court said. The HC has kept the matter for hearing on March 30.
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