The Bombay High Court recently sought to know the statutory impediment in the way of a person to avail of the benefit of more than one Slum Scheme.
The Bench comprising Justice RM Sawant and Justice KK Sonawane explained, “The grievance of the Petitioner in so far as the person availing the benefits in more than one Slum Rehabilitation Schemes appears to be meritorious and in public interest. If, there is no statutory backing for the aforesaid, we would like to know from the SRA and the State what they propose to do in the matter.”
The order was issued on a PIL filed by one Shaikh Abdul Rahim, who has alleged that members of his society have illegally transferred and sold their tenements in the slum rehabilitation project contrary to the provisions of the slum scheme act.
The court had, by an order in July this year, expanded the scope of the PIL to cover all the Slum Rehabilitation Schemes in Mumbai, including the Mumbai Suburban District.
A committee headed by the Additional Collector was then constituted by the State Government to carry out a survey of the Slum Schemes in the area. This committee, it noted, has carried out a survey of about 86429 tenements in various Slum Schemes, and has identified about 30564 occupants who are, prima facie, in illegal occupation of such spaces.
The court was further informed that while notices had been issued under Section 3 (E) of the Maharashtra Slum Area (Improvement, Clearance and Redevelopment) Act, 1971 to eleven such occupants, the matter had not proceeded further. This, it was submitted, was because the officers were of the perception that status quo should be maintained as the PIL is pending.
The court, however, sought to know the progress made on these notices or the reason for no progress having been made on them. It further directed the authorities to state on Affidavit the statutory impediment in the way of a person to avail of the benefit of more than one Slum Scheme.
The hearing of the PIL was consequently deferred to 10 October, by which date it expected that Affidavits would be filed and the information would be with the Counsel.