New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday settled a dispute among three housing societies for construction of houses for the Mumbai slum-dwellers, noting the case lingered on for more than 14 years since 2005 at the cost of the slum-dwellers waiting for decent accommodation.

In a 9-page verdict, the Bench of Justices SA Bobde, R Subhash Reddy and BR Gavai approved the settlement reached on April 16, 2018, asking all the three societies—Adarsh, Saidham and Maruti—to undertake the construction of the houses independently.

It upheld the settlement already accepted by all the stakeholders as “fair and reasonable and in interest of the slum-dwellers of all the three societies.”

The court noted that advocate Ashish Wad appearing for the municipal commissioner was made a local commissioner, who submitted his report on July 9, stating the letter dated October 11, 2018 challenging the settlement was not signed by 172 slum-dwellers, but only by six persons. It, therefore, held the letter seeking to withdraw the consent as fabricated since rest of the signatures except six were plucked out of a letter dated May 30, 2018.

Asking the municipal corporation to issue independent orders to all the three societies for their respective independent plots, the Supre­me Court noted all the seven plots are capable in law of independent schemes and so Adarsh and Saidham shall either jointly or independently develop their properties.

If Adarsh is to develop its property separately, it shall be provided an access by road having a width of nine metres, the court held while letting Maruti develop its property independently.

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