The Bombay High Court recently directed the Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) to evict a person who had transferred the premises allotted to him under the slum rehabilitation scheme for commercial purposes. The court observed that this is a classic case of brazen and illegal dealings in slum tenements by the petitioner.
The petition was moved by Rajendra Vishwakarma, challenging the order of the Grievance Redressal Committee (GRC) constituted under the Maharashtra Slum Areas Act, confirming the petitioner’s eviction from his residential premises at New Prabhat Cooperative Housing Society Ltd, Andheri, allotted to him under the slum rehabilitation scheme.
According to the petition, one Pradeep Bhaigade had filed a complaint with the competent authority, complaining that Vishwakarma had illegally transferred his residential premises to Pratibha Shetty and that the premises were being used for commercial purposes. The assistant registrar, cooperative department (SRA) made an inspection of the tenements. It report revealed that four flats, including Vishwakarma’s, were used for commercial purposes.
Advocate Abhijeet Ashok Desai, appearing for the SRA, informed the court that the competent authorities under the SRA, additional collector and GRC have reached the conclusion that the petitioner had created third party rights and interest in favour of Shetty in regard to the tenement.
The petitioner and others to whom showcause notices were issued for illegally transferring the premises to Shetty were directed that they should hand over the premises to the executive engineer, SRA. The order was challenged before the additional collector and then before the GRC.
While the matter was heard before the High Court, Vishwakarma’s lawyer said he had not transferred the tenement to Shetty as observed by the GRC. Justice G S Kulkarni said, “Considering the overall facts of the case, in my considered opinion, this is a case of gross illegality at the hands of such allottees of public largesse, who have received slum tenements free of cost, and who have indulged in profiteering by dealing in such tenements.”
He added, “The allotment of the tenements under a slum scheme is in the nature of allotment of a public largesse, being conferred on the eligible slum dwellers, for the purpose of satisfying their housing needs, being achieved under the Slums Act and the rules.”