Ruling in favour of a group slum dwellers whose slum rehabilitation scheme has remained incomplete for 26 years,the Bombay High Court recently declined to stay action on the termination of an agreement between them and a real estate developer appointed for the project.
Justice B R Gavai passed the order in response to a plea filed by the developers Susme Builders Private Limited seeking an order restraining the slum dwellers from acting upon the termination of an agreement between them and the developer and from creating any third party rights.
The agreement was terminated in March 2009. The order records that work on the project had begun way back in 1986.
In his order,Justice Gavai said,I find that the plaintiffs (Susme Builders Pvt Ltd) have failed to make out a prima-facie case for grant of injunction as prayed for.
The judge also noted,The persons living in slums are required to live in conditions,which are not at times befitting the dignity of a human being…the plaintiff,who has failed to complete the redevelopment project and realise the dream of slum dwellers to shift in a decent accommodation for 26 years,cannot be thrust upon the defendent society (of the slum dwellers) against the wishes of its members.
The name of the society is Om Namo Sujlam Suflam Co-Operative Housing Society in Vakola near Santacruz.
During the hearing of the dispute,Shekhar Naphade,the counsel for Susme Builders had argued that the delay in carrying out the project was on account of reasons beyond their control. According to him,the delay had taken place because of pending litigations and the appointment of a committee to look into the matter.
However,appearing for the society,Pravin Samdani pointed out that except for a limited period,there had been no stay imposed on construction. Samdani also contended that as two buildings had been completed in this period,the others too could have been constructed.
Susme Builders Pvt Ltd has now appealed against the order before a Bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice N M Jamdar and the case has now been kept for hearing on September 6.