Mumbai News: High Court Imposes Cost On Dissenting Members Holding Up Redevelopment

Mumbai News: High Court Imposes Cost On Dissenting Members Holding Up Redevelopment

Since, the developer said that he has incurred a cost of Rs 4.6 lakh, the HC has asked the dissenting members to pay the cost to the developer and the 16 members, in equal share.

FPJ News ServiceUpdated: Friday, May 10, 2024, 11:01 PM IST
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Bombay High Court | File

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court has reiterated that minority dissenting members cannot hold up a redevelopment project. 

The HC has imposed a cost of Rs 4.5 lakh on seven members of the Kanchan Villa Co-operative Housing Society Limited in Malad West who were opposing the redevelopment by Shubham Builders. The cost is to be paid, equally, to the developer and 16 members of the housing society who vacated the flats in 2013. 

The HC was hearing an appeal filed by the seven members of the society, including a 90-year-old, a 80-year-old and a 79-year old member, challenging the April 4 order passed by a single judge of the HC directing them to vacate the premises. 

The dissenting members contended that a development agreement signed between the housing society and builder in 2013 lacked necessary valid votes at a special general meeting. They contended that four members who voted in favour of the developer ought to have been physically present at the SGM held on May 5, 2013. They claimed that a fresh selection process with bids for a new builder would be required under sec-tion 79A of Maharashtra Co- operative Societies Act.

The bench, however, said that there was no infirmity in the resolution of May 2013 appointing the developer. “We find that the alleged infirmity in the resolution dated May 5, 2013 namely, that members have to be physically present and voting for their vote to count, for all intent and purposes has been rendered moot,” a bench of Justices BP Colabawalla and Somasekhar Sunderashan said on May 7.

The court noted that the majority (members) have been able to “convince one another to pass a fresh resolution, without the controversy of whether the approving majority is present and voting”.

The Society had pointed out to the court that in the past decade, the building has suffered material deterioration in its physical state. “We note that while the building may not be in a state of imminent collapse, it is evident that the inability to move on with the redevelopment would indeed lead to material deterioration. It is for the members who are affected by this state of affairs to come together and rearrange their positions to take the best decision as a collective,” the bench underlined. 

Further, the bench noted that the majority of 16 members have “walked the talk”  and vacated their residences, and handed over possession to the developer while the minority is holding up the redevelopment, now demanding a fresh conduct of the selection process all over again. “Meanwhile, the Developer is going out of pocket by paying transit rent to those who have vacated, without being able to commence work of redevelopment since the dissident members are refusing to vacate,” the bench added. 

Since, the developer said that he has incurred a cost of Rs 4.6 lakh, the HC has asked the dissenting members to pay the cost to the developer and the 16 members, in equal share. The bench has clarified that if these costs are not paid, the Society and the Developer may recover the same as arrears of land revenue under the provisions of the Maharashtra Land Revenue Code, 1966. 

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