'Not Planning To Extend March 31 Deadline For Land Conversion': Maharashtra Govt Informs Bombay HC

'Not Planning To Extend March 31 Deadline For Land Conversion': Maharashtra Govt Informs Bombay HC

Due to Covid-19 pandemic-induced lockdown, the government extended the deadline till March 2023. Last year, the government granted an extension by one more year.

Urvi MahajaniUpdated: Saturday, February 17, 2024, 09:14 AM IST
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'Not Planning To Extend March 31 Deadline For Land Conversion': Maharashtra Govt Informs Bombay HC | Representational Image

Mumbai: The Maharashtra government informed the Bombay High Court on Wednesday that, as of now, it will not extend the deadline of March 8 for receiving applications from housing societies and private entities for land conversion from leasehold to freehold.

Additional government pleader Jyoti Chavan told a division bench of Justices BP Colabawalla and Somasekhar Sundaresan that the government has decided, as of now, not to extend the deadline of March 31, 2024 as per its Government Resolution (GR) which was issued in 2019.

Initially, the government had issued a policy in December 2012 wherein it increased lease rent by 25% for residential properties and by 50% for commercial properties. It also granted the option to these entities to purchase the land by opting for land conversion from leasehold for freehold land by paying 20% of the ready reckoner rate.

At the time, several societies had approached the high court challenging the December 2012 GR.

In the meantime, the government issued another GR on March 8, 2019 under which it permitted land conversion on payment of 15% and 50% of the lease amount for residential and commercial properties respectively. The rate was available for the first three years of the issuance of the GR. After three years, the charges would be 60% and 75% for residential and commercial properties respectively.

Govt Earlier Extended Deadline Till March 2023

However, due to Covid-19 pandemic-induced lockdown, the government extended the deadline by one more year, till March 2023. Last year, the government granted an extension by one more year, which expires on March 8 this year.

During the hearing on Wednesday Chavan said that they would not be extending the deadline.

Navroz Seervai, counsel for some of the petitioners, said that three societies have already made an application to the government for land conversion nearly a month back but they have not received any reply. “Those who are allegedly in arrears, as calculated by them (government), are making conditional payments,” Seervai said.

Chavan said they will process the applications. “They will have to pay the lease. If the court orders that it is exorbitant. Then we will have to return on a pro rata basis,” Chavan said.

Senior counsel Rafiq Dada, appearing for another set of petitioners, said: “We will, without prejudice, make an application for land conversion. This will not amount to accepting that the government resolution is valid. It will not amount to admission.”

The bench has asked the petitioners and the government to submit a short note of their contentions by the next date of hearing on February 27.

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