Mumbai: The Bombay High Court (HC) has sought the assistance of the Maharashtra Real Estate Regulatory Authority (MahaRERA) to choose developers for the redevelopment of cessed buildings in Mumbai.
While hearing a suo motu (on its own) petition, a bench of Justices Gautam Patel and Neela Gokhale also asked MahaRERA whether it has a developer database.
Court: Is there is database of developers?
The bench, on Feb 3, observed, “We would only like to know if there exists such a database of developers; whether MahaRERA has a rating system; and if not, whether MahaRERA is willing to consider developing one.”
The bench had taken suo motu cognisance of the plight of tenants of cessed buildings where redevelopment is halted. The HC was initially hearing a petition by 44 tenants of Ratilal Mansion Cooperative Housing Society at Girgaum, who have been in transit accommodation since 2009 and their project was stalled in 2013.
BMC counsel Anil Sakhare informed the bench that property tax dues are Rs 6 crore and it attached the property in 2019.
Will appoint a consultant to carry out a structural audit
After going through some of the pictures, the judges remarked that the partly-built construction, up to the 9th floor, is in “poor condition.” To this, Maharashtra Housing and Development Authority (Mhada) advocate PG Lad said it will appoint a consultant to carry out a structural audit. With the BMC saying there will be no hindrance for the structural engineer to inspect the premises, court asked Mhada to carry out maximum possible non-destructive tests to place on record the detailed structural audit report after four weeks.
The bench said there was a provision in the MHADA (Amendment) Act, 2020 that allows the housing body to undertake redevelopment of cessed buildings itself. Earlier, Mhada could only undertake repairs.
The court said it wishes to address a larger issue regarding how Mhada should ideally go about the process of redevelopment in “pipeline” cases – where a redevelopment project has halted before completion and society members are denied transit rents and are out of their homes. The court said: “Specifically the dilemma is … about making a proper, informed choice of a developer.”
“We, therefore, approach MahaRERA not just as a statutory authority, but as a body with specialised knowledge, expertise and data, seeking its assistance,” it added.
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