Need for Pol­icy in Pro­tec­tion of Ten­ants / Oc­cu­pants of Di­lap­i­dated Build­ings in Mumbai

Accommodation Times - - Front Page - By Ra­jen­dra Singhvi , Ad­vo­cate High Court To read full ar­ti­cle visit - ac­com­mo­da­tion­times.com

In the State of Ma­ha­rash­tra where there is law to pro­tect the slum dwellers/ en­croaches. Where there is law to pro­tect ten­ants of cessed and or di­lap­i­dated build­ing in is­land city

there is no pol­icy or gov­ern­ing body for pro­tec­tion to the ten­ants/oc­cu­pants of di­lap­i­dated or de­mol­ished build­ings in sub­urbs and ex­tended sub­urbs of Mumbai city.

The dream to make Mumbai as Shang­hai was in Toto i.e. both in­land city and sub­urbs. Sev­eral mod­i­fi­ca­tions were made to the pol­icy of De­vel­op­ment Con­trol Reg­u­la­tions for Greater Bom­bay, 1991 33(7), (9) and (10) with the said ob­ject how­ever the ben­e­fit of the same has re­mained con­fined to In­land city only. It seems that the gov­ern­ment is dis­crim­i­na­tion be­tween the In­land City and sub- urbs and ex­tended sub­urbs. One of the ma­jor ob­ject un­der Rule 33(7), (9) and (10) of De­vel­op­ment Con­trol Reg­u­la­tion, 1991 (DCR) is the re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion of ten­ants/oc­cu­pants and or slum dwellers. Thus there is pro­tec­tion of re­de­vel­op­ment, tem­po­rary ac­com­mo­da­tion by way of rent or tran­sit and even cor­pus to the ten­ants of In­land City. Sur­pris­ingly, even the slum dwellers who is just an en­croacher is also pro­tected and is hav­ing ben­e­fit of re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion tem­po­rary ac­com­mo­da­tion by way of rent or tran­sit and even cor­pus both in in­land city as well as sub­urbs and ex­tended sub­urbs, but there is no statute or pol­icy for the pro­tec­tion of ten­ants in sub­urbs or ex­tended sub­urbs. Due to lack of any proper law and or pro­tec­tion the ten­ants are ex­ploited and or are left at the mercy of land­lords and or de­vel­oper. Even the court of laws is help­less in ab­sence of proper law or pol­icy.

Sec­tion 354 of MMC Act an arm twister:

It is a very com- mon prac­tice adopted by the land­lords / de­vel­op­ers when they are un­able to ob­tain con­sent and agree­ments of ten­ants at their terms they stop main­tain­ing the struc­ture and then ap­proach MCGM and pro­cure no­tice U/s. 354 of MMC Act. Since the no­tice U/s. 354 is a pre­cau­tion­ary no­tice and can be is­sued in an­tic­i­pa­tion of the build­ing be­ing di­lap­i­dated con­di­tions MCGM does not mind is­su­ing the same. Once the no­tice is is­sued the land­lords/ de­vel­op­ers ap­proach the small causes court U/s. 507 of MMC Act. As per prac­tice struc­tural re­port is ob­tained which usu­ally will support the cause of no­tice and con­cludes say­ing that the struc­ture has out­lived its life and should be pull down. Thus usu­ally the re­port of struc­tural en­gi­neer will support the no­tice is­sued by BMC. The small cause’s court usu­ally passes or­ders for im­ple­men­ta­tion

Sur­pris­ingly, even the slum dwellers who is just an en­croacher is also pro­tected and is hav­ing ben­e­fit of re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion tem­po­rary ac­com­mo­da­tion by way of rent or tran­sit and even cor­pus both in in­land city as well as sub­urbs and ex­tended sub­urbs, but there is no statute or pol­icy for the pro­tec­tion of ten­ants in sub­urbs or ex­tended sub­urbs.

of no­tice. As even the court will not like to take the bur­den of risk of set­ting aside the no­tice. Simultaneously the de­vel­oper/ land­lords who are usu­ally in­flu­en­tial per­sonal starts ap­proach­ing their pup­pet ten­ants and the pol­icy of di­vide and rule comes into play. The sole ob­ject is that the 70% ten­ants sub­mit to the de­mands of the land­lords. Since there is no law or pol­icy or min­i­mum bench­mark cri­te­ria like 33(7), (9) of (10) the land­lords dic­tate the terms as is suit­able to them. Once majority though un­will­ingly sub­mits to the terms of land­lords/ de­vel­op­ers there is hardly any scope avail­able to the mi­nor­ity ten­ants who are will­ing to fight right. There are sev­eral judge­ments which states that the mi­nori­ties can­not op­pose re­de­vel­op­ment/re­con­struc­tion. At times the ten­ants are forced to stay at their own cost for sev­eral years and still the per­ma­nent ac­com­mo­da­tion is not made avail­able to them. Once the prop­erty is va­cated and de­mol­ished the de­vel­op­ers / land­lords are least con­cerned to com­mence the con­struc­tion work as they are not in­cur­ring any cost and there is no ef­fec­tive law or pol­icy to force them to com­mence and com­plete the con­struc­tion work in a time bound man­ner. As dis­cussed this is an arm twister and a law with great pow­ers in the hands of land­lords/de­vel­op­ers, Cor­po­ra­tion and po­lice to evict the ten­ant from his ten­anted premises. But there is no act or pol­icy to pro­tect the in­ter­est of ten­ants es­pe­cially in sub­urbs and ex­tended sub­urbs. The pro­tec­tion to the ten­ant un­der sec­tion 16, 17 and 18 of Ma­ha­rash­tra Rent Con­trol Act, 1999 are also in­ad­e­quate.

A) Some of the rel­e­vant judge­ment on the mat­ter: 1. In AP­PEAL FROM OR­DER (Stamp) NO. 23627 OF 2013 filed by one Smt. Es­ther Man­ickam against MCGM and Ors., de­cided on Septem­ber 27, 2013:

In this mat­ter the Hon’ble High Court has di­rected the sole ten­ant to va­cate the ten­anted premises in her oc­cu­pa­tion within one month. The Mat­ter sails to High Court from City Civil Court against the No­tice U/s. 354 of MMC Act is­sued by MCGM to pull down the premises of Ten­ant at ground floor of Ruia Build­ing sit­u­ated at Mil­i­tary Road, Juhu, Mumbai. The said no­tice came to be chal­lenged in Suit mainly on the ground that al­ter­nate ac­com­mo­da­tion be pro­vided on the suit land. Other 13 ten­ants oc­cu­py­ing the said build­ing had va­cated their premises un­der con­sent terms against com­pen­sa­tion @ of Rs. 28000 per Sq. Ft. The Land­lords in the mat­ter had of­fered a lump­sum con­sid­er­a­tion of Rs. 1 Cr. to va­cate the premises. The land­lord de­sired to pull down the build­ing as the same was in di­lap­i­dated con­di­tion. It was clear that the Ten­ant has ba­si­cally no ob­jec­tion, if land­lords pro­ceed with the re­con­struc­tion and/or pull down the build­ing, but the main prayer in the Suit as well as in the No­tice of Mo­tion and also in an ap­pli­ca­tion filed in Ap­peal from Or­der dated 26 Au­gust 2013, is to di­rect Re­spon­dent No.2 to en­ter into an agree­ment with the Ap­pel­lant for per­ma­nent al­ter­nate ac­com­mo­da­tion in the re­con­structed build­ing in lieu of suit premises. The land­lord was not will­ing to en­ter into any agree­ment but was will­ing to set­tle the mat­ter on same terms as had been done with other ten­ants. It was ob­served that the owner of the prop­erty who is en­ti­tled to deal with the prop­erty. Even oth­er­wise, ten­ants can­not ob­ject to trans­fer and/or even to cre­ate third party rights or in­ter­est in such prop­erty by the land­lord.

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