The Bombay High Court on Friday raised questions over the stance of the state government while dealing with the case of multiple allotment of flats to beneficiaries under the chief minister’s discretionary quota. While asking the state to prepare a clear policy, the court questioned the state on how it could “withdraw prosecution” against beneficiaries if a case of cheating was made out.
The state government’s Urban Development Department (UDD) and Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) on Friday filed their affidavits before a division bench of Justices A S Oka and A A Sayed.
While perusing their affidavits, the court rapped the state departments and said, “What action do you propose to take in this case? If someone comes and takes the flats, you cannot say it is under consideration. You just take possession of the flat.” The court made the remark after going through the UDD’s affidavit, which stated that in one such case, the beneficiary had sought surrender of the illegal tenement by making an application. “This application is under consideration,” read the UDD affidavit.
The court has posed two major queries — withdrawal of prosecution against the beneficiary if he pays the amount after selling the illegal tenements and “consideration” of the application of a beneficiary seeking surrender of the illegal flat.
“A written notice will be issued to the beneficiaries concerned, informing them that they should surrender the tenements fraudulently secured by them from the government, within 30 days, failing which criminal action will be initiated,” the state told the high court through its affidavits.
It further stated that in a case where a beneficiary failed to surrender the tenements in the prescribed period, an FIR would be registered under relevant sections of the IPC, and the allotment of the tenements would be cancelled.
“However, if a beneficiary, after the initiation of criminal proceedings, surrenders one of the two tenements allotted to them, they will have to pay the government an amount equal to the sale price of the second tenement as per the Ready Reckoner, and then the criminal action will be withdrawn,” the affidavits further read.
Justice Oka, however, pointed out, “Once you find that someone has committed fraud, you say that if he pays, you will withdraw prosecution. This cannot go on like this. You have to come out with a proper policy.”
Both the state departments had filed their replies in relation to a PIL filed by activist Ketan Tirodkar.
The high court on March 20 set aside the chief minister’s discretionary housing quota case, observing that allotment of flats under the quota was “illegal”.
While posting the case’s next hearing on June 10, the court has asked the advocate general to clear the state’s stand with regard to its queries.