The Bombay High Court on Monday directed the Maharashtra Housing and Development Authority (MHADA) to file an affidavit in response to a PIL against its advertisement announcing the sale of 1,384 flats in the city. A bench of Chief Justice Naresh Patil and Justice N M Jamdar was hearing the Public interest Litigation (PIL) filed by activist Kamlakar Shenoy, alleging that the sale was illegal since these flats were covered under the state government's Development Control Regulations (DCR).
He said the flats cannot be sold and that they were meant to be allotted only to those residents whose houses were affected by the state's several developments and redevelopment projects. As per the petition, on November 5, 2018, MHADA issued advertisements in November last year inviting applications for the sale of 1,384 flats through a draw of lots. A majority of these flats, however, are the ones which were surrendered to MHADA by private developers in lieu of having redeveloped cess buildings, the PIL alleged.
Rule 33(7) of the DCR mandates that those developers, who take up redevelopment of old buildings in the island city, must hand over a few flats from their surplus area, and in return, they get certain Floor Space Index (FSI) incentives and other benefits. The PIL said these flats cannot be sold for commercial gains and must be reserved by MHADA for people whose homes have been taken for repairs, redevelopment, or new development projects.
MHADA denied the allegations and argued that these flats were not covered under rule 33(7). The high court bench, however, directed the MHADA to put its arguments on an affidavit. It also asked MHADA what had been done for the several project-affected people in the city who had been waiting to be rehabilitated for years? The court granted three weeks to MHADA to file its affidavit.
(With inputs from agencies.)