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08 Apr 2019

No Profiteering From Tenements Received By Slum Dweller: Bombay High Court

The Bombay High Court in its decision delivered on March 26, 2019 in the case of Rajendra R. Vishwakarma vs The State of Maharashtra & Ors has dealt with the issue of profiteering and/or commercialisation from the tenements received by the  slum dweller in a slum redevelopment scheme by illegal transfer and use purely for commercial exploitation.

Background

In this case, the petitioner had illegally transferred a flat in a Cooperative Housing Society in Andheri (East) to a third party and the same was being used for commercial use. The flat was further transferred to a commercial entity subsequent to being amalgamated with 3 other flats. 

Relevant Provision of Law

Section 3E of the Maharashtra Slum Areas (Improvement, Clearance and Redevelopment) Act, 1971 (“Slum Act”) is reproduced as below:

“(1) The tenements allotted to the persons under the Slum Rehabilitation Scheme shall not be transferred by the allottee thereof by way of sale, gift, exchange, lease or otherwise for a period of first ten years commencing from the date of allotment of the tenement. After the expiry of the said period of ten years, the allottee may, with the permission of the Slum Rehabilitation Authority, transfer such tenement in accordance with the prescribed procedure.

(2) If the tenement is transferred by the allottee in contravention of the provisions of subsection (1) the Competent Authority shall, by order, direct the eviction of the person in possession of such tenement in such manner and within such time as may be specified in the order, and for the purpose of eviction, the Competent Authority may use or caused to be used such force as may be necessary.”

Provided that, before issuing any order under this sub-section, the Competent Authority shall give a reasonable opportunity to such person to show cause why he should not be evicted therefrom.”

The Verdict

Justice Girish Kulkarni observed that “the object under the Slums Act and the slum scheme is to rehabilitate the bonafide and genuine slum dwellers by providing a permanent shelter over their head. In this context, Section 3E of the Slums Act is a salutary provision, so that commercialization in dealing with the slum tenements is not indulged by the slum dwellers. This is precisely what is violated by the petitioner.”

 The Hon’ble Court has further opined that “this is a case of gross illegality at the hands of such allottees of public largesse, who have received slum tenements free of costs, and who have indulged in profiteering by dealing in such tenements.

“This article was originally published on the Accommodation Times website on April 4, 2019”

https://accommodationtimes.com/no-profiteering-from-tenements-received-by-slum-dweller-bombay-high-court/ 

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