THOSE who have lived in Maharashtra for more than 15 years are eligible to apply for allotment of an apartment built by the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA).
However, documents accessed under the Right to Information Act reveal that the Maharashtra government took recourse to an allowance made in a regulation to not insist upon this 15-year domicile rule while approving the memberships of sitting High Court (HC) judges for a highrise coming up in suburban Mumbai.
A senior government official confirmed that the domicile condition was not insisted upon while deciding the eligibility of the members.
The housing scheme has been sanctioned under Regulation 13 (2) of the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development (Estate Managements, Sale, Transfer and Exchange of Tenements), Act, 1981, which permits the MHADA to build homes for a specific category of people with the government’s prior approval.
The regulation was last used by the previous Congress-NCP regime to sanction a society for bureaucrats in 2008.
A Maharashtra government resolution issued on February 8, 2007, regarding implementation of the Regulation 13(2) specifies that the “the society members (beneficiaries) should have lived in Maharashtra for 15 years”. But senior government officials pointed out that the same resolution had made an allowance in this regard for serving judicial officers, along with serving and former legislators and parliamentarians, and bureaucrats.
“If a member (for housing schemes belonging to these three specific groups) has resided in the state for a lesser period of time, the domicile condition won’t apply to them,” the government resolution states.
Since June 20, The Indian Express has published a series of reports on how Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had sanctioned an exclusive housing scheme for the serving judicial officers of the Bombay HC on a 32,300-square-feet public land parcel in Oshiwara. The MHADA, which will now build 84 homes for the judges, had originally planned an affordable housing scheme for the middle income group (MIG) on the plot. This was dropped to build 1076 square feet homes for the judges.
As many as 19 other judges, whose memberships have been approved, are serving in the Nagpur and Aurangabad benches of the HC, show official documents.