Supreme Court Orders Rehabilitation Or Compensation Within Three Months For Legal Representatives Of Occupant Under Town Planning Scheme
The Supreme Court held that the legal representatives of the original occupant, who had been in possession of the disputed property since 1976, were entitled to consideration under the Town Planning Scheme notified in 1994 and subsequent circulars issued by the Municipal Corporation. The Court emphasized that any occupant of the property, as per the scheme, was eligible for rehabilitation or compensation.
In the present appeal, the main issue before the court was the rights of the legal representatives of the original occupant concerning their claim for either allotment of an alternative site or compensation for the premises they occupied. They had been in possession of the disputed property since 1976 and had even been assessed for taxes by the Municipal Corporation.
A two judge Bench of Justice Vikram Nath and Justice Rajesh Bindal found, “In terms of the Town Planning Scheme, notified on 01.08.1994 and subsequent circulars, the claim of any occupant of the property is required to be considered for rehabilitation or for payment of compensation. The appellants are still in possession of the property, which is stated to be coming in the alignment of 60 feet T.D. Road.”
The legal dispute began in 2001 when a notice was issued to the predecessor-in-interest of the appellants, which was later challenged in a Civil Suit and decreed in favor of the occupants in 2003. Subsequent notices were issued in 2004 and 2007, leading to another legal battle. During the course of these proceedings, the original occupant passed away and the appellants were recognized as his legal representatives.
Advocate Nitin Bhardwaj appeared for the Petitioners and Advocate Garvesh Kabra appeared for the Respondent.
The central argument raised by the appellants was that, as per the Town Planning Scheme notified in 1994 and subsequent circulars issued by the Municipal Corporation, they were entitled to rehabilitation or compensation since they had been in possession of the property for a substantial period. The Corporation contended that the appellants' suit was not maintainable due to a legal bar mentioned in Section 149 of the Act.
The Court noted that the appellants had been in possession of the property since 1976, as evidenced by a census certificate. According to the Town Planning Scheme and subsequent circulars, any occupant of the property was eligible for consideration for rehabilitation or compensation. The appellants' claim had not been duly considered by the Corporation.
Instead of prolonging the legal battle, the Court decided to dispose of the appeal by directing the Corporation to evaluate the appellants' claim in accordance with the Town Planning Scheme. The Court said, “Instead of relegating the parties to litigate further, in our view, the present appeal can be disposed of with a direction to the Corporation to consider the claim of the appellants in terms of the Town Planning Scheme either for rehabilitation or payment of compensation. The needful shall be done within a period of three months from the date of receipt of copy of the order.”
The Court allowed the appeal, set aside the High Court's order, and instructed the Municipal Corporation to assess the appellants' claim for rehabilitation or compensation within a specified timeframe.
Cause Title: Jaffar Ali Nawab Ali Chaudhari & Ors. v. The Municipal Corporation Of Greater Mumbai