A senior judge has withdrawn from the proposed high-rise society of sitting Bombay High Court judges in suburban Mumbai. Justice Shantanu Kemkar, who was appointed as a permanent judge in 2004 and transferred as a judge of the Bombay High Court on April 16, 2016, is learnt to have surrendered his membership in the proposed high-rise.
The Indian Express had reported Wednesday that Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had sanctioned an exclusive housing scheme for the serving judicial officers on a 32,300-square-foot public land parcel in Oshiwara. The Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA), which will now build 84 homes for judicial officers, had originally planned an affordable claim housing scheme for the middle income group (MIG) on the plot. This was dropped to build 1,076 square feet homes for the judges.
While the CM had approved the housing scheme for the judges on August 31, 2015, construction is yet to begin at the site. The government has so far approved memberships for 39 judges.
Justice Kemkar told The Indian Express he had now withdrawn his membership in the judges’ society, now registered as Surabhi CHS Ltd (proposed). Sources said MHADA received his application regarding the intimation of withdrawal on June 14, 2017.
Justice Kemkar said, “I am originally from Indore (Madhya Pradesh). At the time of applying for membership to the society, I had plans of settling down in Mumbai. But after my tenure (in the Bombay HC ends), I’m now planning to go back to my native place.” He said he wasn’t aware that an affordable housing project had been originally planned on the plot, while declining to be drawn into any further discussion over the issue.
Following the chief minister’s move to sanction the housing scheme for judges, the Maharashtra government has received over 100 applications from judges of the district city civil and sessions courts, magistrate’s courts, industrial courts, and from members of the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission from all over the state for membership.
MHADA has been turning these applications down on grounds that the scheme was for sitting judges of the Bombay HC. All of them have been conveyed that their applications can only be considered if the office of the Bombay High Court’s Registrar General recommends their case. No such case has so far been recommended, is it learnt. Incidentally, a judge who had already been elevated to the Supreme Court at the time of his application, has been granted membership.