Bombay High Court Directs Prompt Action On SRA's Circular For Transit Rent Increase

Bombay High Court Directs Prompt Action On SRA's Circular For Transit Rent Increase

Court was hearing a petition filed by eligible 78 slum dwellers of the Wadala Village Welfare CHSL seeking direction to the SRA to implement its circular mandating 5% increase in transit rent

Urvi MahajaniUpdated: Sunday, February 11, 2024, 11:26 PM IST
article-image
Bombay High Court | File

A circular issued by the Slum Redevelopment Authority (SRA) on June 6, 2015, which mandates a regular increase in transit rent to be paid by the developer to the slum dwellers, who have vacated their premises for the redevelopment project, is still gathering dust. The circular was issued keeping in mind that often several redevelopment projects stay in a limbo for a long period of time thereby forcing the occupants to stay in rented premises for decades.

This was brought to the notice of the Bombay High Court, which has directed the slum authority to decide on the representation of slum dwellers of Wadala by which it sought implementation of the circular.

Court's order

“We dispose of the petition by directing the 3rd respondent, the joint registrar cooperative department SRA, to decide the representation of the petitioners and which is dated December 1, 2023 on a priority basis and preferably within six weeks from today,” said a division bench of justices Gautam Patel and Kamal Khata on February 7.

The court was hearing a petition filed by eligible 78 slum dwellers of the Wadala Village Welfare CHSL seeking direction to the SRA to implement its circular mandating 5% increase in transit rent. CHSL was formed comprising several small slum societies in Wadala, which were proposed for redevelopment, to take up the cause of the slum dwellers. It comprises over 2,300 slum dwellers and municipal tenants.

Their lawyers, senior advocate Ranjeet Thorat and advocate Yashodeep Deshmukh, submitted that several persons have handed over “vacant and peaceful possession” of their premises to the developer M/s Merit Magnum Constructions (formerly known as Vimal Builders) after the proposed redevelopment.

Details of case

Initially a developer was appointed in 2004 and the rent was fixed at Rs15,000. Over the years, there were legal disputes and the redevelopment project was stalled. Subsequently, an agreement was signed with Merit Magnum Constructions. On July 31, 2023 the developer issued a letter and a reminder letter on September 6, for vacating the premises for a rent of Rs15,000 per month.

Deshmukh said that the petitioners had made a representation to the joint registrar co-operative department on December 1 and even sent a reminder letter. However, as they did not receive any reply, they approached the HC.

The developer, meanwhile, offered to pay Rs19,000 and one time shifting cost of Rs20,000. However, considering the market rate of rent of Rs23,000-25,000 per month, the petitioners have sought higher rent.

Plea questioned whether it is fair?

The plea questioned whether it is “fair, proper, legal and reasonable” on the part of the developer in refusing to pay rent at prevailing market rate as per the area and further refusal to grant enhancement/ increase in rent periodically. Also, it raised questions over the inaction on the part of the SRA authorities in “implementing their own circular”.

“There is an alarming trend of escalating room rent rates in the bustling city of Mumbai, more so areas like Wadala which is close to South Mumbai and major commercial centres as also has many big ticket projects coming up or already in place, required to be taken judicial notice of,” the plea read.

Further, what was reasonable in 2012, is not reasonable with regard to transit rent by virtue of long period and economic conditions, it adds. As the SRA has failed to implement its circular, it has resulted in the developer being the only basis of fixation of rent.

The court has, hence, directed the respondents to decide on the petitioners’ representation, after giving a hearing to the developer, preferably within six weeks. 

RECENT STORIES

Viral VIDEO: Shiv Sena MLA Sanjay Gaikwad Thrashes Young Man Using Police Lathi During Shiv Jayanti...

Viral VIDEO: Shiv Sena MLA Sanjay Gaikwad Thrashes Young Man Using Police Lathi During Shiv Jayanti...

CIDCO VCMD Vijay Singhal Visits Navi Mumbai International Airport Project Site; Directs Officials To...

CIDCO VCMD Vijay Singhal Visits Navi Mumbai International Airport Project Site; Directs Officials To...

Mumbai: Blood Donation Camps Organised At Churchgate By Western Railway Employees Union

Mumbai: Blood Donation Camps Organised At Churchgate By Western Railway Employees Union

Mira-Bhayandar: MP Rajendra Gavit Meets Officials To Address Highway Traffic Woes

Mira-Bhayandar: MP Rajendra Gavit Meets Officials To Address Highway Traffic Woes

'Concessional Premium Rates Will Be Given To Those Who Apply For Land Conversion By March 7':...

'Concessional Premium Rates Will Be Given To Those Who Apply For Land Conversion By March 7':...