The Bombay high court has come to rescue a plum a 23-acre plot in city’s posh area Versova in favour of Apna Ghar society and the Society developer Samarth Development Corporation.
Justice Gautam Patel reportedly directed the payment of Rs 40 lakh as legal costs while dismissing an application seeking to stop the allotment to the cooperative housing society and halt development by its builder SDC.
Unearthing a ploy, calling the plea by one Ashok Kulkarni a “sponsored litigation“, Justice Gautam Patel asked him and nine co-petitioners to pay the sum–Rs 20 lakh each to the housing society and SDC.
“Everything points to this being a sponsored litigation, with Kulkarni having lent his name to some other entity. On his account alone, huge amounts have had to be spent in defending this and associated litigations, “the judge said.
High court Judge also candidly observed “The litigation is one I have found to be without the faintest glimmer of merit. It is precisely the kind of litigation–speculative, lacking in bona fides, sponsored, an abuse of the process of law and of the court, and perhaps even a fraud on the court–that our Supreme Court has repeatedly decried and deprecated, even said should be visited with exemplary and penal costs.“
HC however stayed its order and directed Mhada not to hand over the land to the society till November 14, to allow time for Kulkarni to file an appeal.
Kulkarni’s story is completely different as the report goes on: “As a former chief promoter of the society , he claimed he was exclusively entitled to the allotment of the land on the basis of a 1981 sale agreement and a 2008 SC order. He claimed that new members had been brought in by the builder and he was illegally removed from the post during a society meeting in 2011. In an application, he urged the HC to re strain Samarth Development Corporation (SDC) and the society from creating third-party rights on the land.”
The HC pierced in to this story and denied the interim relief sought by Kulkarni as the land was not allotted to him but to the society of which he was the chief promoter. Also, Kulkarni had not been able to prima facie establish that 55 members were enrolled by the builder or that the members who he claimed were with him were the original members of the society.
The court reportedly noted that SDC had paid over Rs 72 crore for the land to the state, Mhada and towards legal fees. It questioned how Kulkarni, who claimed to be a retired person and could not come up with Rs 1.5 lakh in 2004, suddenly fought numerous litigations and engaged senior advocates in 2012.“Nothing explains this incongruity, except perhaps this…the land in question is about 23 acres…in the north-western suburbs…where land values are astronomical and an area of enormous development potential. In short, everything points to this being nothing but a sponsored litigation at the behest of a rival developer…who saw in the occurrence of Kulkarni’s name an opportunity impossible to resist, a chance well worth taking when weighed against the potential development profits.“
The housing societies have to really struggle in Mumbai to fight the hawks and may be that the new anticipated outfit in the Mantralaya hopefully get cracking and renew hopes of a middle class aspirations of owning dwelling units.