MUMBAI: A tenancy dispute cannot be a reason to halt the demolition of a dangerously dilapidated building, the Bombay high court has ruled.
A division bench of Justice Anoop Mohta and Justice F M Reis gave the go-ahead to the BMC to demolish the dilapidated Vimal Bhavan in Andheri (E) and refused the plea of three tenants of a single room to stay its orders.
"Of the 10 tenants, nine tenants have already vacated the premises. Therefore, the resistance of (the opposing tenants), based upon the alleged tenancy rights of only one room, cannot be the reason to halt such project, basically when the dilapidated building required urgent demolition for redevelopment," said the HC. "Having once entered into an agreement, the other tenants cannot be deprived of their entitlement of new ownership premises, which is proposed to be constructed after the demolition of the building, at the instance of (the opposing tenants)."
Following the BMC's categorizing of the building as C1 category, the nine tenants had vacated the premises in 2009 . They had signed agreements with a developer who paid them rent till the new building was constructed in which they would get flats on an ownership basis. But the three tenants who occupied one room refused to move out, and a tenancy dispute was pending over the room and the open terrace, which they had claimed.
The HC said since the tenancy dispute was pending, there was no reason to insist that the landlord sign an agreement with the opposing tenants. The court also asked the BMC not to wait for the agreement between the opposing tenants and the developer to grant commencement certificate for the construction of the new building. The HC said in the event tenants win the litigation in the civil court, they have to be given their due according to the law.
In July, the HC had laid down guidelines for dilapidated buildings. The HC had said that in case of civic-owned and cessed C1 category buildings, occupants had to vacate the premises with seven days of receiving the BMC's evacuation notice, failing which police will be called in to remove them.In August, the HC had asked the state to prepare a road map for privately-owned dilapidated buildings.