The Bombay High Court recently directed the Brihanmumbai Municipal COrporation (BMC) to compensate a developer in the form of floor space index (FSI) or transfer of development rights (TDR) or money for the setback land acquired in 1969.
In 1969, the BMC took around 3,635 sq ft along LLJ Road, Nepean Sea Road, as a setback area to make it part of a public street. Setback area is the minimum open space around a building to ensure it is at a distance from the road, water body or another building.
The HC was hearing a petition filed by Runwal Township Private Limited.
According to the plea, the original owner (Meghji Gopalji and wife), in 1976, sought FSI from the BMC as compensation for the setback area. He regularly followed up with the corporation. The couple sold the plot to Runwal Township in 2011, who then followed up with the BMC.
However, the BMC, in 2018, informed Runwal that its request for releasing money or FSI in lieu of acquisition of the setback land could not be honoured as the acquisition was made in April 1969. Following this, Runwal approached the HC.
Owner did not submit evidence to show compensation not paid: BMC
The civic body justified its decision saying that “there is inordinate delay and the owner did not submit any documentary evidence to show compensation not paid”. The BMC said that in 2011, the plot was already a part of a public street, and hence the developer would not have any right, title and interest in respect of the setback land. Thus, it would not have any right to claim any compensation.
The court noted that the BMC was willing to compensate till December 2018 when the couple and the developer pursued the matter.
Although the setback land had become part of a public street, the right of compensation which had accrued to the erstwhile owners stayed alive, the bench observed.