Bombay HC nod for redevelopment of Cuffe Parade slums

Observing that the SRA scheme is to mitigate the hardships of the slum dwellers, the Bombay High Court last week cleared the decks for the redevelopment of the slum areas in the city's plush Cuffe Parade.

The HC’s order in favor of Shapoorji Pallonji group's Precautions Properties would pave way for rehabilitation of over 7,000 slum dwellers in South Mumbai.

Notably, the 30-storey buildings are expected to be constructed by the group at the site to house about 7,000 families.

A Bench of Justices Nitin Jamdar and Milind Jadhav was seized with a plea filed by Precautions' rival Diana Estate, which was supported by a proposed housing society of the slum dwellers challenging the decision of the SRA allowing the former to redevelop the over 28 acre land.

The rival group claimed it has the support of the mandatory 70 per cent of the slum dwellers. They also picked up various technical points to buttress their case.

The judges, however, noted that the Precautions group was having support of nearly 89 per cent of the slum people.

The Bench further took into account the fact that the rehab project has been pending for the last 20 years.

"Slum dwellers have been waiting for rehabilitation for over two decades. They submit that the only consequence of setting aside the impugned order (allowing Precautions to develop the site) will be that the process will start all over again, meaning the slum dwellers will continue living in squalid conditions," the judges observed.

"Ultimately such schemes are implemented to mitigate the hardship of the slum dwellers and they should not be casually set aside by the courts only on technical grounds unless a case of gross illegalities or failure of justice is made out. Considering the totality of the circumstances, we conclude that no interference in writ jurisdiction is warranted. The petition is dismissed," the judges held.

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