HC or­ders Mhada to clear re­tired en­gi­neer’s dues

DNA Sunday (Mumbai) - - FRONT PAGE - Mustafa Plumber p_ mustafa@ dnain­dia. net

The Bom­bay High Court has di­rected Ma­ha­rash­tra Hous­ing Area Devel­op­ment Author­ity ( Mhada) to re­lease ter­mi­nal ben­e­fits of a for­mer ex­ec­u­tive en­gi­neer who was con­victed un­der sec­tion 304 A ( caus­ing death by a rash and neg­li­gent act) and sec­tions 337 and 338 ( which speak of caus­ing hurt by en­dan­ger­ing life or pub­lic safety), for his in­volve­ment in the By­culla build­ing col­lapse of 2005, where 11 peo­ple died.

A divi­sion bench of Jus­tice Anoop Mo­hta and Jus­tice G S Kulka­rni, di­rected Mhada to re­lease funds for Narayan Ma­ha­jan, af­ter set­ting aside the or­der passed by said agency, with­hold­ing the ben­e­fits. Ma­ha­jan re­tired from his ser­vice in 2011 and the agency in July 2011, with­held his ben­e­fits.

It was ar­gued in the court by Ma­ha­jan that, when he was per­mit­ted to re­tire with no dis­ci­plinary ac­tion ini­ti­ated against him dur­ing the sub­sis­tence of his em­ploy­ment, a pend­ing crim­i­nal case should not en­ti­tle the agency to with­hold his dues.

Ad­vo­cate Neha Bhide ap­pear­ing for MHADA, in­formed the court about no such rule be­ing in place that would per­mit the agency to with­hold the pay­ment, when the pe­ti­tioner was per­mit­ted to re­tire on the grounds as con­tained in the or­der. Fol­low­ing which, the court al­lowed the pe­ti­tion and di­rected MHADA to re­lease the pay­ments due with an in­ter­est of 9%, on the out­stand­ing amount.

The lower court in 2007, had based its con­vic­tion on the sur­vey re­port they had sub­mit­ted three weeks be­fore the col­lapse. It said that, no pre­cau­tion­ary mea­sures were re­quired and also that there was no need to va­cate the ten­ants from the four- storey Saraf Manzil. Ma­ha­jan was sen­tenced to four- and- ahalf- year rig­or­ous im­pris­on­ment with a fine of Rs11,500. The other ac­cused - build­ing owner Baba Yusuf Qureshi, ar­chi­tect Mukund Dak­shini and build­ing con­trac­tor In­drababu Sharma - were ac­quit­ted for want of ev­i­dence.

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