Real Estate Sharks Eyeing Mumbai Prime Land


Land is Mumbai’s most treasured commodity. We have seen, read, and heard about scams worth heaps of crores in this city over land. Now, some other possible scams are in the making in Mumbai, this time with the national government’s help. Let’s have a look at the heritage of the new alleged scandal.

In 2007, the Maharashtra authorities repealed the Urban Land Ceilings (ULC) Act, 1976. Heaps of corporations in Maharashtra had more land under the ULC Act. In keeping with Section 20 of the ULC Act, it became compulsory for the country authorities to take again greater land from corporations that shut down operations. Anything greater than 500 rectangular meters turned into more in Mumbai’s context. The order given by the Bombay High Court’s full bench on September three, 2014, stated that the guideline on taking extra land from agencies became relevant even after the repeal of the ULC Act. The court even requested the national authorities apply the land for housing for low-income people. The stated land turned into approximately 2,808 hectares.

The unambiguous courtroom order turned into, in a way, a triumph for citizens who were looking for low-cost housing. Interestingly, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) authorities in the Centre, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, have assured every Indian of a personal home by 2022 lower-priced housing scheme. In reality, the Maharashtra authorities have taken a contrary stance that threatens the opportunity of low-priced housing in Mumbai.

Despite clear orders to manipulate Mumbai’s 2,808 hectares of land, the Maharashtra government sat on it for two years. Meanwhile, the problem went to the Supreme Court (SC). The Maharashtra Chamber of Housing Industry (MCHI), one of the respondents in the Bombay HC case, approached the SC against the 2014 order. While admitting the special go-away petition (SLP), the SC issued an intervening time injunction, pointing out that no coercive steps should be taken. This allowed the Maharashtra authorities to now not do something for a while. The MCHI’s enchantment in SC came up for listening in 2015, while the Maharashtra authorities filed an affidavit stating that MCHI had no locus standi in the case. Interestingly, in parallel parleys, MCHI ‘approached’ the state authorities to discover a way out of this scenario.

Here came the U-turn by the country authorities. The Maharashtra government, which had started in the SC in 2015 that MCHI did no longer have locus standi inside the case, got here with the new affidavit in SC. This is in 2019. This time, the national authorities said it had agreed to the consent terms with MCHI and that the SLP needs to be settled. The authorities, which had first said that the developers’ frame has no locus standi, are now saying that it has settled with the equal frame!

What occurred during the four years — from 2015 to 2019 — that gave cover to the state government from dealing with criticism? In July 2017, the Maharashtra authorities appointed a fee to investigate the instances related to Section 20 of the ULC Act, 1976. There have been many such pending instances. Retired SC justice BN Srikrishna was appointed to the commission, with another member, a retired IAS officer BN Makhija.

This Srikrishna commission submitted its record in 2018 and endorsed that the country government “promote the land beneath ULC Section 20” with an “unmarried premium fee.” The state authorities, which had not acted on the Bombay HC order in 2014 to control 2,808 hectares of land, immediately acted on those pointers. Having the fee report in a cupboard meeting on November 16, 2018, is customary. On this foundation, it arrived with ‘consent terms’ with MCHI on February 8, 2019. The state authorities informed the SC on February 26, 2018, about its consent phrases with MCHI and asked for the disposal of the case.

The country authorities’ eagerness to accept the recommendations, which can be visible to be in favor of real property sharks, is questionable. Nivara Abhiyan, a Mumbai’s civil society group fighting for low-cost houses, has appealed to the Supreme Court and Bombay High Court. Vishwas Utagi, popular secretary of Nivara Abhiyan, said, “There turned into no need to hire the commission. Second, although it hints at promoting land, the state government must have rejected it. The Bombay HC’s complete bench had, in reality, given a verdict in favor of managing all the land below ULC and using it for affordable homes for people experiencing poverty. In this situation, the state government labored for the benefit of corporate developers rather than terrible Mumbaikars. This is a clear contempt of the Bombay High Court.”