Published On : Fri, Dec 15th, 2017

Act against developers not returning part of redeveloped

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court said today that the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority should be “worried” that private developers often fail to return a part of the building to the MHADA as per the initial agreement between them.

A bench of justices Naresh Patil and N W Sambre also said that the government must take immediate steps to curb the practice by private developers, who redevelop old, dilapidated ‘cess buildings’ in the city. It also ordered the MHADA to come up with a procedure to prevent such practices in future.

Cess buildings are those buildings whose owners pay a fee, or cess, to the state towards repair and redevelopment.

The Maharashtra government provides construction benefits, including additional floor space index, to private developers who undertake the redevelopment of such properties.

In return, the developers are required to return a few flats in the redeveloped property to the MHADA at a specific rate.

The bench was hearing a criminal Public Interest Litigation filed by activist Kamlakar Shenoy alleging that developers, who redevelop cess buildings under the state’s development control rules, are bound to surrender a part of the redeveloped property to the MHADA before obtaining Occupation Certificate from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corp.

The PIL said the developers often fail to hand over the same to the MHADA and such breach of agreement is most common when it comes to redevelopment of properties in south Mumbai.

The plea alleged that such breach had already caused a loss of nearly Rs 14,000 crore to the MHADA due to “deliberate inaction” by its officials.

The Economic Offences Wing, meanwhile, filed an affidavit in the court today, stating five FIRs have been filed against developers in such cases this year and that the MHADA has initiated civil proceedings against several erring developers.

It said the allegations in the plea were exaggerated.

After going through the affidavit, the HC asked the MHADA to file an affidavit specifying how many such redevelopment projects had been completed and how many remain incomplete.

“What steps will MHADA take in such cases in the future where developers fail to return a part of the properties? MHADA should be worried if it is not getting its share. If such practice is not curtailed soon, it will become rampant.

Some procedure will have to be worked out,” justice Patil said.

“(Also) ask the Ministry of Housing what can be done in such cases,” he said.

The bench directed the state government to file an affidavit clarifying its stand on the issue by December 20, the next date of hearing.