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Monday, September 21, 2020

Maharashtra: Bill for suspension of right to property of owners gets government nod

Invoking the right to safety of those occupying these rundown buildings, the amendments allow the government to suspend a land owner’s right to property and forcibly acquire and redevelop them if the owners does not initiate redevelopment within a given time-frame.

By: Express News Service | Mumbai | Updated: September 9, 2020 9:25:18 am
8,637 buildings sealed in MumbaiThe maximum number of sealed buildings are in the Andheri-Borivali belt. (Representational Image)

Making time-bound redevelopment of dilapidated cessed buildings in the island city mandatory, the state legislature on Tuesday approved various modifications to a state legislation — Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Act (MHAD, 1976) — that enables the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) to acquire dilapidated cessed properties where the land holders or developers are found stalling redevelopments.

Invoking the right to safety of those occupying these rundown buildings, the amendments allow the government to suspend a land owner’s right to property and forcibly acquire and redevelop them if the owners does not initiate redevelopment within a given time-frame.

Incidentally, a nine-member bench of the Supreme Court is hearing a matter where the Property Owners Association has challenged the provision to suspend an owner’s right to property. The matter has been running for decades.

According to the new provision, owners of such buildings will get six months to initiate redevelopment once they are tagged as dangerous to live in. The collective of tenants or the housing society will get another six months for such redevelopment, failing which the MHADA will step in to acquire the building and redevelop it with a builder of its choice.

The move will have a direct impact on 14,207 cessed properties in the island city; most of which are over 70-years-old.

On the final day of the curtailed monsoon session, the state legislature cleared 12 bills. One of them, which was hotly contested by the Opposition, was for the withdrawal of a provision for debarring directors of state cooperative banks who face criminal charges in retrospective manner. The provision, which was introduced during the previous regime, barred all such office bearers from contesting cooperative polls for ten years.

Several ruling coalition politicians were earlier named in a case pertaining to financial irregularities committed in the Maharashtra Cooperative Bank. “This will serve as an encouragement to fraudulent behaviour in the cooperative sector,” alleged former CM Devendra Fadnavis. Despite Opposition’s opposition, another bill for the appointment of a “suitable person” for administering gram panchayats whose terms had expired was also approved.

The government also passed a bill allowing lands acquired under four state Acts — the Maharashtra Highways Act (1955), the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (1961), the Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning Act (1966) and the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Act (1976), which have been excluded from the provisions of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisiton, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 — one more year for incorporating procedures for the payment of compensation and rehabilitation to the landowner.

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