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Court orders Clover Builders to demolish two 22-storey buildings

Nine residents had been fighting for the demolition since 2018, claiming that these constructions were not part of the plan when the society was handed over to them in 2007; developer to appeal verdict

The Pune Civil Court Senior Division ordered Clover Builders to demolish two 22-storeyed buildings constructed within Clover Highlands Co-operative Society in Kondhwa in a landmark judgment passed on April 30.

The case is being fought since 2018 by nine city residents, who cited that this building was illegal and not part of the original plan when the society was handed over to them in 2007. The expressed relief at the verdict in their favour after the long battle.

Judge SMA Sayyed, who presided over the case, passed a detailed, 95-page order, instructing that all revised and sanctioned plans after the society was handed over to residents in 2007 ‘stand cancelled being void ab initio’.

The court also ordered Clover Developers Private Limited, through its directors Raj Kanaksen Bhansali and Dhiren Nandu, and the neighbouring Everjoy Co-operative Housing Society Limited (Phase 1), ‘against undertaking any construction of building 8 and building 9 (buildings in dispute)’.

The court also directed by the way of a mandatory injunction that the two buildings be demolished, within a period of four months from the date of the order.

If the defendants failed to comply with the said order within the stipulated time, the plaintiffs were at liberty to demolish the structure by incurring expenses and recovering them from the defendants. The court also ordered the developers and adjoining society to pay Rs 5,00,000 to the plaintiffs as compensation towards damages, harassment and mental agony and inconvenience caused to them.

On behalf of Clover Highlands, nine residents had taken the initiative to approach the court. Of these, Rakhee Sachdev, said the order goes to show that perseverance and patience do bear fruit. “The verdict gave us extreme strength and courage. The fact that the judiciary agrees with us has charged us up. This is our home, and we will fight tooth and nail to protect it. When one buys a house, there is a lot of trust involved in the builder. With the new constructions and other issues, this trust was broken for us,” she said, adding, “The society was handed over to us 14 years ago and we are still waiting for the conveyance. It got stressful and frustrating, but we are glad the verdict is in our favour.”

The residents also had defamation and civil cases filed against then by the builder.

At present, where buildings 8 and 9 stand, according to the original layout, there were supposed to be parking areas for the society, the plaintiffs told the court. They further pleaded that the layout plans were changed several times by the builders without approval from society members as is mandated under Section 7 of Maharashtra Ownership Flats Act (MOFA), 1963. While work was already underway, it was only in February 2018 that the plaintiffs learned about alterations to the earlier layout through a general body meeting held by the society. They claimed that consent of the plaintiffs and other unit purchasers was not taken.

However, the defendants claimed the residents were informed about the same and did not challenge the altered layouts at the time. The judge in his order pointed out that all altered plans allegedly not challenged by the plaintiffs are subsequent sanctioned plans to the sanctioned plan dated February 6, 2007, which is when the society was handed over to the residents.

Any plan sanctioned post this without consent will be illegal. “It is the principle of law that there is no need to challenge or seek declaration with respect to any document which is illegal. Moreover, it is a fact that what is illegal always remains illegal,” the order stated.

The advocate for the plaintiffs, Lalit Jhunjhunwala, said that the judgment will help several homeowners fight for what is rightfully theirs. “We are optimistic for the future. It is important that litigants know their rights, so they can seek justice in the correct way. We followed procedure and have approached the High Court and Supreme Court as well during this case, and will do so again if needed,” he said.
The nine residents who have approached the court are a part of the society, which was made aware of this construction — so they have no right to apply for grievance— Kiran Wagaj, advocate for developers and Everjoy SocWhen Mirror contacted Kiran Wagaj, the advocate representing the developers and Everjoy Society, he said there is a stay on this order for a period of 90 days, within which they will appeal the verdict.

“We are not affecting any additional construction in the buildings, in which the plaintiffs have purchased flats. This is a phase-wise construction in which we have completed the first phase and now another phase is going on. Plaintiffs are flat purchasers in the first phase and as such have nothing to do with this construction. The nine residents who have approached the court are a part of the society, which was made aware of this construction — so they have no right to apply for grievance. The society was notified of this construction via a general body meeting and it was ratified. We have the documents to prove it, too,” Wagaj said. Besides this suit by the nine residents, earlier, Clover Highland society as an entity had also filed a suit in this same case, but subsequently withdrew it, he added.


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