The High Court of Bombay on Friday directed the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) to maintain status quo with regard to its order for requisition of some re-developed buildings as quarantine centers.
The order was passed by a Division Bench comprising of Justices SJ Kathawalla and Surendra P. Tavade after it was informed that the original owners / tenants of such redeveloped properties were virtually homeless.
Terming the circular to be prima facie "unjust and unfair" the bench ordered,
"The Municipal Corporation shall maintain status quo as of today in respect of the premises forming the subject matter of all the above Writ Petitions."
The court noted that there were hundreds of families who had handed over their original tenements/ flats to the builders and had been living in temporary alternate accommodations in the meanwhile. However, since several years had passed, the builders had stopped paying monthly payments in lieu of temporary alternate accommodation to such families and consequently, given the financial constraints, such families "virtually landed on the streets".
The court noted that the MCGM issued the impugned circular, "despite the above pathetic circumstances of such families who are longing to secure their legitimate roof over their heads."
"This action on the part of the MCGM, prima facie appears to be absolutely unjust and unfair and done with scant regard or consideration to the plight of those people who have no roof to call their own," the bench remarked.
The court has thus ordered status quo and has asked the Corporation to file a detailed Affidavit setting out particulars of the buildings where they have started or have made arrangements to start the quarantine / isolation facilities; the bed capacity therein; and the number of individuals presently housed therein.
The affidavit has to be filed by June 9 and the matter will then be taken up on June 16.
Case Title: Sahyog Homes Ltd. v. State of Maharashtra (and connected petitions)
Case No.: WP No. 40/2020
Quorum: Justices SJ Kathawalla and Surendra P. Tavade
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