Bombay High Court Fines Developer ₹5 Lakh For Delay In Slum Rehab Scheme

Bombay High Court Fines Developer ₹5 Lakh For Delay In Slum Rehab Scheme

The HC was hearing a petition filed by Lakharia challenging the order of the Apex Grievance Redressal Committee of April 8 whereby it upheld the order of the CEO, SRA, terminating its appointment.

Urvi MahajaniUpdated: Tuesday, May 14, 2024, 02:59 AM IST
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Bombay High Court | File pic

The Bombay High Court has imposed a cost of Rs 5 lakh on a developer for “deliberately” delaying implementation of a slum rehabilitation scheme by more than five-six years in Jogeshwari (West). The high court upheld the removal of the developer Lashkaria Housing & Infrastructure and directed that the cost be paid to Tata Memorial Hospital in eight weeks.

The court also took exception to the fact that the developer tried to project that he was appointed to carry out the slum rehabilitation scheme (SRS) on three adjoining plots for 432 hutments, when he was appointed to redevelop one plot of land housing 120 hutments. The court had to conduct a “microscopic inquiry” to determine which plot was allotted to the developer for redevelopment, thereby wasting the court’s time.

“… apart from conduct of the petitioner in not making any progress in implementation of slum scheme for 5/6 years, its conduct in representing before this court that it has been allotted slum scheme for rehabilitation of all three portions of land comprising 432 structures has been found to be fallacious after undertaking an inquiry by this Court. This resulted in wastage of substantial and valuable judicial time,” Justice Sandeep Marne said on May 10.

The HC was hearing a petition filed by Lakharia challenging the order of the Apex Grievance Redressal Committee of April 8 whereby it upheld the order of the CEO, SRA, terminating its appointment. The CEO’s order was of August 2023.

In June 2018, Sarvodaya Residence SRA CHS (proposed) made an application seeking removal of earlier developer Hridaya Construction and appointing Lashkaria to redevelop their 120 structures. However, Sarvodaya approached the CRO, SRA, in August 2022, seeking removal of Lashkaria as the developer failed to make any progress.

Initially, the entire project spread over 6,300 square metres, and involved redevelopment of 432 structures, which was granted to Hridaya.

Lashkaria counsel Mayur Khandeparkar denied delaying the project, stating that its redevelopment project for 432 structures was approved in July 2021. The developer could not proceed with redevelopment as there was delay by MHADA in deciding eligibility of slum dwellers.

However, SRA advocate Jagdish Reddy submitted that Lashkariya was granted permission to redevelop only 120 structures. Society advocate Cherag Balsara also echoed Reddy’s arguments and said that the developer was deliberately delaying the SRS till he gets approval to redevelop the other two plots as well.

Justice Marne noted that the original developer, Hridaya, was appointed to redevelop a larger portion of three plots comprising 432 structures, whereas Lashkaria was appointed to only redevelop 120 structures.

“Thus, instead of concentrating on implementing the slum scheme of 120 slum structures in respect of which petitioner is appointed as developer, it appears to be more interested in expanding the scope of its appointment by securing rights in respect of first and third portions of the land,” Justice Marne said while dismissing the petition.

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