Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Wednesday pulled up the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority for seeking to evict a man and his family from their transit tenement and in a lighter vein said the planning body should put them up at the Taj hotel in south Mumbai.
A division bench of Justices Gautam Patel and Neela Gokhale questioned the 48-hour eviction notice sent to the man, whose original home was pulled down for a public project, and asked if MMRDA expected him to “stand at Flora Fountain (a Mumbai landmark) and beg”.
The court was hearing a petition filed by one Shobhnath Singh challenging MMRDA’s notice of February 8, 2023, that asked him to vacate the tenement within 48 hours failing which he and his family would be forcibly removed.
The petitioner submitted that he did not have an alternative accommodation and that the threat of forcible dispossession was unreasonable. The bench asked MMRDA how they could give such a short notice to the petitioner without providing an alternative accommodation. “The petitioner and his family are already dispossessed from their original flat and have been living in this transit home. Now you (MMRDA) want him out of the transit home too?” Justice Patel said.
The court held that pending hearing of the petition, interim protection ought to be given to the petitioner.
“If you (MMRDA) oppose this then I will direct you to put him (petitioner) and his family up at the Taj hotel,” Justice Patel said in a lighter vein.
The bench was informed by the petitioner’s lawyer that the MMRDA had locked the tenement. The court directed the MMRDA to remove the lock immediately and posted the matter for hearing on March 10.
As per the plea, the petitioner’s original house in suburban Kanjurmarg was demolished for a public project. He and his family have been put up in a transit tenement in the same area since 2017.
Advocate Aparna Patkar, who represented MMRDA, told the court that the transit tenement was to be granted to other project-affected persons and hence the notice of eviction was issued.