In a major relief for the Shapoorji Pallonji Group, the Bombay High Court has paved the way for its subsidiary to develop a large chunk of Slum Rehabilitation project of about 113321.54 square meters in tony Cuffe Parade area near the World Trade Centre in South Mumbai.
On Tuesday, the division bench of Justice Nitin Jamdar and Justice Milind Jadhav, while dismissing the plea filed by one Dyna Estate Pvt Ltd and Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Nagar Sahakari Griha Nirman Sanstha, observed that the slum dwellers have been waiting for rehabilitation since over two decades and ultimately such schemes (SRA) are implemented to mitigate the hardship of the slum dwellers and they should not be casually set aside by the writ courts only on technical grounds unless a case of gross illegalities or failure of justice is made out.
“The Finance Controller, after examining…passed a remark that Precaution and Shapoorji Pallonji and Company have sufficient net worth as certified by the Chartered Accountant,” said the court in the 63-page order. “The documents showing the net worth of the holding company- Shapoorji Pallonji and undertaking of Shappoorji Pallonji were also annexed. Nothing is demonstrated before us to show that the holding company also does not have the financial capacity.”
In the case, Precaution Properties Pvt Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Shapoorji Pallonji Group was desirous of implementing a slum rehabilitation scheme in respect of a slum plot admeasuring 113,000 sq. meters and it had originally submitted its proposal in April 2012. Other developers including Plymouth Construction, Doshi Darshan Group and Shree Lekha Enterprise had also submitted their bids to the Slum Redevelopment Authority (SRA) during different times to develop the same project.
Also, around the same time, Petitioner (Dyna Estate) had also submitted a proposal on 18 April 2013 for the rehabilitation scheme on the area admeasuring 7252 sq meters within the same land parcel. The petitioner had challenged the proposal of Precaution on the grounds that it did not have 70% consents when it submitted its proposal and has improved upon this position later. Precaution has no financial capacity of its own. However, the court in its ruling observed that the Piecemeal implementation of the scheme is not viable.
“Precaution’s proposal is for the entire area. This proposal could not be processed because of the pending litigations. 84% of eligible slum dwellers of 23 co-operative housing societies are supporting Precaution’s proposal. The financial position of Precaution and its holding company has been found sufficiently robust to ensure that the project is completed and the slum dwellers are housed,” said the court in its ruling, a copy of which was reviewed by ET.
“The Petitioners’ proposal is for only 6.4% of the total property. The Petitioners have a minuscule minority with them. A large part of the area under Petitioners’ proposal is unbuildable. As rightly contended by the Respondents, the Petitioners’ attempt, with no chance of executing the scheme by itself, is only to prevent Precaution and Federation from executing the scheme.”
When contacted, advocate Cherag Balsara, who appeared along with senior counsel Aspi Chinoy for the Shapoorji Pallonji Group company confirmed the development and said that litigation and interim orders of various courts have caused a delay due to which the implementation of the scheme for rehabilitation of approximately 60,000 slum dwellers was held up despite precaution having paid an amount of Rs 150 crores as land premium and interest way back in 2017.
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