Hc Lets Tenants Get Nod To Reconstruct Razed Bldg Themselves, Real Estate News, ET RealEstate

October 25, 2023

<p>File Photo</p>
File Photo

MUMBAI: Pulling up the BMC for being a “silent bystander for years”, the Bombay HC has permitted the tenants association of a ground-plus-four storey Goregaon building that was demolished four years ago to apply to the civic body for permission to reconstruct it themselves.

“If the association, through its consultants, submits plans for reconstruction to the MCGM, the MCGM is to consider those and process them in accordance with the law in no more than six weeks from the date of submission,” said an October 18 order by Justices Gautam Patel and Kamal Khata. The verdict was given on a petition by Chandralok People Welfare Association comprising 103 tenants.

The building on Aarey Road, Goregaon West, was constructed in 1965, and the BMC declared it dangerous in 2014. The building was vacated in July 2019 and demolished. The association moved the HC to direct the BMC to direct the building’s owners—the lessee of the land—to take steps for redevelopment or reconstruction. Alternatively, it sought that tenants be allowed to appoint a developer to reconstruct the building.

The association’s advocates, Abhishek Sawant and Ameet Mehta, said the owners did not reconstruct or redevelop the building for more than four years. “Since July 2019, all 103 tenants are off-site, scattered across the city, their once tightly-knit community fractured. Since then… they have seen no vestige or semblance of any proposal for reconstruction or redevelopment,” the HC noted.

It said the owners had failed to show “tangible steps” towards either reconstruction or redevelopment. The plea had invoked Section 499 (3) of Mumbai Municipal Corporation (MMC) Act, which “gives bodies like the petitioners the right to come together as an association and apply for and obtain reconstruction permission” if the owners fail to do so.

The judges said there was no reason why the BMC “should remain [a] silent bystander for years and years together when it finds that there is a building that has been brought down, tenants have been evicted and there is no proposal before it either for reconstruction or redevelopment at the instance of the property owner”.

They said it could direct the owner to take up reconstruction or redevelopment within a time frame and if not, it could take steps under the MMC Act. They rejected as “untenable and unreasonable” the owners’ claim that they have no obligation to reconstruct or redevelop the building and that the BMC has no power to permit reconstruction by tenants.

But, the HC agreed with the owners that under Section 499 (6), tenants have no right to redevelopment but only to rebuild to the extent of the area demolished. It said neither consent nor an NOC is necessary from the owners. “We have only affirmed [tenants’] statutory right to reconstruction and MCGM’s obligation to permit it without prior consent of the [owners].”

  • Published On Oct 25, 2023 at 12:00 PM IST

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