Bombay HC orders eviction of ‘adamant’ city tenant

In a significant order, the Bombay High Court while passing eviction orders of an "adamant" tenant from a dilapidated building in suburban Goregaon, the Bombay High Court on Monday ordered the local police not to entertain any FIR or NC from him against any court or civic authorities.

The HC slammed the tenant for not bending before the law and trying to seek protection from various courts despite the fact that all other members of the society have approved the redevelopment of the building.

A Bench of Justice Gautam Patel, irked over the conduct of the tenant, said, "How long must other members of the society, all of them equally part of the lower income group, suffer and wait for their redeveloped homes only in order to satisfy perhaps the ego or perhaps the ill-conceived notions in law by which this tenant seems so enchanted?"

"Why should he be invested with the authority to hold his neighbours and fellow members of the society entirely to ransom like this? Under what understanding of law, justice or equity can he state that a building that is demonstrably and in law declared to be hazardous and unfit for human habitation should be left standing, continuing to pose a risk to all concerned?" the judge questioned.

The bench was seized with a plea filed by a developer, who has been roped in to redevelop the dilapidated building, declared unfit for human habitation by the civic body. The developer through his counsel Amogh Singh pointed out that 19 of the 20 members of society have agreed to the redevelopment. Only the single tenant before the court, has been objecting to the project and has been demanding that all the procedures (which the tenant did not specify) be followed.

Singh argued that all procedures have been followed and his client has already spent over Rs 6 crore in the last few years but has been unable to proceed with the project due to this lone tenant.

"What makes this tenant so special that no law applies to him other than the law that he chooses to apply? As per him the society must, he insists, conform to his notions. It must follow his diktat," the judge said, adding, "However, that is not the law. He will bend the knee to the law and to judgments of this Court. He will subject himself to the discipline of the Cooperative Societies Act and the supremacy of the general body."

The court accordingly ordered the tenant to vacate the flat before April 30.

"If he doesn't vacate, the Court Receiver (of HC) will proceed to forcibly take possession from him with the assistance of the police authorities from Goregaon Police Station. The Court Receiver is at liberty to break open the locks of the said premises," the judge ordered.

The bench, while noting the history of this matter, further said, "Any attempt by this tenant to obstruct the Court Receiver from taking possession, either by filing complaints or otherwise, will be treated as an act of Contempt of Court and will be dealt with as such. I will not permit him to undermine the authority of this Court or the Rule of Law."

The court further said that the tenant cannot subvert its orders by bringing any charges against officers of the Court.

"The police authorities at the Goregaon police station will not take cognizance of any complaint or allegation that he makes against any officer of this Court including the Court Receiver or the authorised representative," the judge added.

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