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Supreme Court will decide fate of Distressed Flat Owners in Mumbai on MMRDA land

The decision will clarify the application of MOFA, MMRDA, or RERA acts to projects built on MMRDA land

The Supreme Court has recently admitted a Special Leave Petition of flat owners of a building on Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) land. Aggrieved by the impugned judgment passed by the Bombay High Court, which expressly excluded the applicability of the Maharashtra Ownership Flats Act, 1963. (“MOFA”) on lands belonging to MMRDA, the 98 flat members of Universal Garden-I flat Owners’ Welfare association in Jogeshwari, Mumbai, knocked the doors of the Apex Court. 

“Exclusion of MOFA in its entirety will gravely prejudice the rights and cause a ripple effect amongst several flat owners in the State of Maharashtra. This issue needs immediate attention as the flat owners on the MMRDA land are deeply distressed because there is no clarity on the act which will deal with their grievances. Moreover, the enactment of MMRDA and RERA have sidelined the rights of those governed under MOFA. Therefore, it is unfair to the homeowners if different rules apply,” said Mr Suhail Shariff, Managing Partner, Falcon Legal, Advocate representing the flat owners.

The flat owners had filed a case against Pagarani Universal Infrastructure Pvt. Ltd., claiming that the Developers had no right over any additional Floor Space Index (FSI) or additional construction without their consent as per Section 7 of the MOFA Act. However, the Bombay High Court held that the flat owners in buildings on MMRDA land do not grant them statutory entitlements under MOFA. It further added that Section 31, Schedule II of the MMRDA Act clarifies that MOFA does not apply to MMRDA or any land or building belonging to or lands vested in the authority. This decision has led the flat owners to raise a question before the Supreme Court whether, by such exclusion, the MMRDA Act amplifies the abuse and malpractices which MOFA attempts to address and prevent. Thus, the appeal to the Supreme Court is based on the interplay between the two statutes, i.e., MOFA & MMRDA. It also aims to point out the ongoing construction taken up by the Developer in which the flat purchasers have no say, as the land belongs to MMRDA.

Upon hearing the parties, the Supreme Court issued notice to the Developer and MMRDA and observed that any further construction on the land will be at the risk and peril of the developer. Further details of the hearing are awaited, with the next hearing date to be held on 11th July.

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