The Bombay High Court on Wednesday allowed occupants to redevelop 25 dilapidated buildings at Sion Koliwada, home to displaced persons from Pakistan after the Partition of India.
An affidavit was filed by Shyamsundar Patil, Joint Secretary, revenue and forest department, on behalf of the state government that it has no plans and policy of redevelopment of 25 buildings and it does not wish to make one.
The affidavit further said 25 buildings of 1,200 flats were constructed at Sion Koliwada to rehabilitate displaced persons from Pakistan after the Partition. Of these, 19 were constructed in 1955 and six in 1963.
The conveyance deeds of flats in 19 buildings are given to a majority of the displaced persons.
The affidavit further said the government has decided to transfer the tenements to the occupants of the remaining six buildings after occupants of each form a cooperative housing society.
It further added that the collector of Mumbai city district has proposed to the state government that if the names of the cooperative housing society of the buildings are entered into the records of rights as occupants Class I, then no question will arise about permission of the government for redevelopment.
In response to this proposal, a letter was issued by the revenue and forest department, directing divisional commissioner of Konkan division to enter the names of the cooperative housing society of 25 buildings in record of rights as occupant Class I and also to ensure the recovery of all dues from flatholders, excluding illegal transfers into Sion Koliwada displaced person colony, the affidavit stated.
A division bench of Justice S C Dharmadhikari and Justice Gautam Patel said, “To our mind, if not anything, this affidavit itself is a policy. Now the petitioners would have to abide by the same. They cannot have a public land free for themselves nor the benefits attached to it. We would require the petitioners to abide by this stipulation, form a cooperative housing society, ensure that the occupants have all documents in place…”