Bombay HC; Rs 2 lakh cost imposed on Modern Realty, ET RealEstate

October 13, 2023

MUMBAI: “Court proceedings cannot be permitted to be hijacked at the hands of unscrupulous litigant,” said a Bombay high court bench of Chief Justice Devendra Kumar Upadhyaya and Justice Arif Doctor, while dismissing a builder’s petition seeking permission to participate in a BIT chawl redevelopment tender process.

The HC also imposed a cost of Rs 2 lakh on Modern Realty Pvt Ltd to be paid to KEM Hospital and Medical College within a month.

The builder had sought orders to participate in the bidding process for the proposed redevelopment of certain portions of the BIT Chawl along St Mary Road in Mazgaon. Observing that the petitioner attempted a “camouflage”, the HC indicated a nexus between the builder and the residents to help the firm bag the project. “It appears that in zeal… to get the project, the petitioner [builder], on one hand, approached this court by filing the writ petition and, on the other hand, is attempting to shake hands with the residents, one of whom has filed the application before the Supreme Court with prayers that he, along with the Modern Realty, be permitted to participate in the bid. Such a course of action on part of the petitioner…cannot be approved,” said the HC bench in its October 9 order, which was made available on Thursday.

The builder’s counsel, Advait Sethna and Sandeep Raman, contended that repeated and arbitrary change of the earnest money deposit (EMD) amount by BMC and technical glitches resulted in his non-participation. Senior counsel Anil Sakhare, with Rohan Mirpuri and Sunil Sonawane for BMC, said the EMD was re-fixed on September 4 at Rs 4.7 crore, but due to a technical glitch in uploading the change on the portal, not only the petitioner, all bidders had to participate by depositing Rs 8 crore as EMD. The amount would have been adjusted once the process was complete, said Sakhare.

He said a resident, Girish Bhaskar, had approached the SC seeking directions to enable Modern Realty to participate in the bid and had enclosed two bank drafts of about Rs 8 crore issued in favour of BMC, stating that he and the firm undertake to complete the redevelopment project. Sakhare said the two bank drafts are the same that the builder is relying on before the HC.

Sethna contended that merely because an individual from a tenants’ association makes a mention of the builder before the SC, where it is not a party, it does not disentitle the petitioner to seek relief before HC. The court disagreed. It said there was no denial from the builder that the bank drafts were not handed over to Bhaskar to move SC. “The camouflage is thus apparent,” said the HC, adding that “by its conduct” the builder has disentitled itself from seeking any relief before it.

  • Published On Oct 13, 2023 at 09:12 AM IST

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