MUMBAI: In a boost for the BJP government in Maharashtra, Bombay high court on Thursday dismissed a bunch of petitions challenging a state notification, which required developers or land owners to set aside 20 % of the plot for affordable housing.
Developers had moved the HC contending that the notification amounted to "compulsory acquisition of land" by the state, which it was not empowered to do. A bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and M S Sanklecha upheld the notification's validity in public interest. The challenge to the notification was filed by prominent developer D B Realty and others. Their primary contention was that the government had no power to bring in acquisition of land or rights to the land except under the Land Acquisition Act. The matters were heard at length last year and the state through then advocate-general Darius Khambata put up a stiff fight to justify its decision and oppose the petitions.
Khambata had argued that the state was empowered to permit incidental acquisition under development control rules (DCR). Arguments in court analyzed the DCR in depth and one petitioner also argued that the definition of low-cost and economically weaker section needs to be looked at more closely. The state said the notification allowed either 20% of plot layout to be reserved for low-cost housing or comparable buildable space in form of FSI.