HC orders Mhada to clear retired engineer’s dues
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.