The Gujarat high court bench comprising of Chief Justice Aravind Kumar and Justice Ashutosh Shastri has asked some questions to the state government regarding the applicability of the 41A of the Gujarat Ownership Flats Amendment Act, 2018, Section 18(2) of the Rules, and Section 60A of Gujarat Housing Board Act, 1961,
The query by the high court, to the cooperative registrar, Ahmedabad municipal commissioner, municipal estate officer and Gujarat housing commissioner, along with the state government is in relation to a petition filed by a resident of Naranpura In Ahmedabad. The questions seek to understand how the law appears to have created problems for the demolition and redevelopment of a building, which has become unhabitable much before it completes 25 years.
Petitioner Pragnesh Gandhi, through his advocates Nisarg D Shah and Ruchita Jain has questioned the validity of the rules and provisions of the law that regulates the redevelopment of housing societies. According to present rules, authorities grant permission for redevelopment only if they have the consent of 75% of members and that too only if the building is at least 25 years old.
The petitioner has maintained that present rules are against the right to life of the public at large. Challenging the consent clause, which requires 75% of society members to give their nod for redevelopment, he argued that if 25% or more members do not give consent for redevelopment, the majority of the residents would be risking their lives even if the building is dilapidated and/or older than 25 years.
The petitioner made another point saying at times, building conditions are worsened due to natural disasters but as per the present rule, the redevelopment permission can be given only to buildings that are at least 25 years old.
Even if a building is in dilapidated condition, as per law redevelopment of the society would be forbidden till the building completes 25 years. This provision poses a threat to the lives of residents.
The petitioners argued that the building’s structural report should be the base for granting permission for redevelopment instead of the consent clause. The petitioner submitted that these provisions are against the right to life of citizens and a violation of constitutional provisions
The state government, on it’s part submitted that as per provisions of the Gujarat Provincial Municipal Corporation Act, the municipal commissioner is empowered to seal a building if it is found
in a ruinous condition.
The court has sought a reply from the concerned by November 21, specifying that the pendency of the petition may not be cited by the authorities for not taking any decision.