Devp housing authority faces contempt case over eviction

Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority’s action of evicting a tenement from the Colaba transit camp bounced back following a contempt petition against the Vice President and CEO of MHADA Gautam Chatterjee.

Written by Mohan Kumar | Mumbai | Published:March 9, 2009 4:30 am

MHADA evicted a tenetment from Colaba transit camp which was in the petitioner’s possession

Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority’s (MHADA) action of evicting a tenement from the Colaba transit camp bounced back following a contempt petition against the Vice President and CEO of MHADA Gautam Chatterjee.

Anant Bhaye and his family had filed the contempt petition after MHADA officials on December 3,2008,had come to evict them from the transit camp which was in their possession. Subsequently on February 4,2009 MHADA official S K Patil with the help of police evicted the petitioners from their transit camp accommodation.

Bhave had shown them the order of the city civil and sessions court which had in 1993 restrained MHADA from evicting,dispossessing or interfering with the petitioners use of the tenement.

Following this Bhave filed a contempt petition against Chatterjee,Patil and one Shrikant Maccha,the concerned rent collector urging the court to take action for flouting court orders.

Although Chatterjee’s name has been deleted from the contempt petition,he has filed an undertaking recently assuring the court that the premises would be restored back to the petitioners at six pm the same day.

When the matter came up for hearing before justice R M Sawant,MHADA counsel G W Mattos admitted that the action of the concerned officers were not justifiable. However,court took exception to the fact that though Chatterjee was the CEO and VP,he was in no way concerned with the matter and yet he was impleaded as a contemnor.

Justice Sawant accepted the contention on the grounds that on an action of the subordinate officer the head of the department could not be held responsible. Accordingly Chatterjee’s name was deleted and the undertaking to restore the premises was filed.

MHADA then pleaded that the arrears of transit camp charges with penal interest should be paid by the petitioners.

However,Justice Sawant declined to grant the plea after taking a view that the petitioners being poor persons who were highhandedly dispossessed could not be expected to pay penal charge.

Court said only normal charge upon restoration of tenement needs to be paid by the petitioners. MHADA also stated that petitioners would be given alternate accommodation if MHADA engage in the entire reconstruction scheme of the transit camp.

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