The Bombay High Court has recently issued a notice to the chief executive officer and the assistant registrar of the Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) and the principal secretary of the state urban development department in a contempt petition filed by Prem Siddha Co-operative Housing Society (PSCHS), in connection with the redevelopment of an about 14,000 square metre plot in Worli. The case is listed for hearing before a division bench of the court Monday.
According to the PSCHS, the SRA had flouted a High Court order of October 2013, in which the court had set aside the approval of a redevelopment scheme in favour of Indra Co-operative Housing Society (ICHS) on the same plot. “After the court set aside the scheme, there is no scheme existing in favour of ICHS at present. Still the SRA has gone out of its way to hear them for changing the developer for the implementation of the slum rehabilitation scheme on that plot,” said PSCHS’s lawyer Samir Vaidya.
In the petition, the PSCHS had urged the court to hold the government officials liable for criminal contempt and hand them the suitable punishment sentence.
The case pertains to the redevelopment of the plot that houses 2,200 families and was declared a slum in 1995. The BMC had leased the plot to the Birla Group Industries Charity Trust on a 999-year lease in 1946. The PSCHS sought the permission of the SRA after the Trust, in November 1995, expressed its desire to redevelop the property.
In July 1996, the Trust granted its no-objection certificate (NOC) to the PSCHS for redevelopment of the slum. The contempt petition stated that the SRA, in November 1997, however, principally approved a redevelopment scheme submitted by Indra Co-operative Housing Society, without waiting for the BMC’s response. They alleged that the ICHS had not sought the land-owner’s consent for redevelopment, which was mandatory.
In 1998, BMC informed the SRA that the Trust wanted to proceed with the redevelopment with PSCHS and also told the society that the SRA scheme would be approved based on the Trust’s NOC.
On March 5, 1999, however, the SRA cleared the redevelopment proposal of ICHS made through Shivkrupa developers and did not consider the proposal made by the petitioners, they alleged.
After a series of litigations in the Slum Tribunal, the city civil court and the High Court, on October 14, 2013, the High Court set aside the scheme approved by the SRA, in favour of ICHS. And even after the status quo period of three months, as directed by the court, had lapsed, the PSCHS claimed the SRA had not considered the proposal submitted by the petitioners, appointing Tulja Bhavani developers to carry out the redevelopment scheme.