The Bombay high court has quashed an order of the Thane District Collector for requisitioning 84 flats in two buildings in the city of Ambernath for a Covid-19 quarantine/isolation facility, ordering him to take a fresh decision in two weeks considering that possession letters were issued to flat-buyers.
Justices N. M. Jamdar and Abhay Ahuja noted that the Municipal Council, Ambernath had addressed a communication on 13 June, to the Developer corporation of the subject buildings seeking for its response regarding requisitioning the flats in the premises. Sai Ashray Developers on 17 June informed the Municipal Council that the flats have been sold to third parties and possession letters have been issued and it is not possible to give possession of these flats. Thereafter the impugned order was passed by the Collector on 25 June.
"The Collector, in the impugned order, referred to the request of the Municipal Council to requisition the premises and proceeded to pass the order. There is no reference in the order as to the creation of third party rights in favour of individual flat owners", observed the division bench.
The bench remarked that it was clear therefore that when the Collector has passed the impugned order, he has not been made aware of the correct factual position, and hence, the impugned order is based on wrong premises. "What would be the consequences of creation of third party rights in the flats upon the requisition of the premises will have to be decided by the Collector when the order of requisition will be passed", stated the Court.
Accordingly, the bench was of the opinion that the impugned orders will have to be quashed and set aside and a fresh decision will have to be taken by the Collector after taking note of the factual position which is brought on record by the petitioners which was not before the Collector.
Noting that certain steps have been taken by the respondent Collector pursuant to the impugned order, the bench, not inclined to disturb the same at this stage, ordered status quo, requiring the collector to take a decision as per law.
The petitioners before the High Court asserted that they have purchased the flats in these buildings and also have been given possession letters, that their interest in the property stating that they are the land owners whereon the buildings have been situated. They have challenged the action of the respondent Collector on various grounds, primarily on the ground that the Collector has solely proceeded on the communication from the Municipal Council of Ambernath which does not disclose the correct facts.
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