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