The Bombay High Court has restrained the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) from taking any coercive action for 12 months against its former employees, including ex-ward officers or their legal heir, occupying “staff quarters” at Mitha Nagar, Goregaon (East).
The court was told that over 150 families of staff members have been living on the premises for over four decades and continued to do so after retirement, adding that they claimed the civic body has promised to transfer the tenements in their name on ownership basis.
However, BMC said former employees or their legal heirs should have vacated the premises as per their employment agreement. It further said that the eviction notice issued to the occupants as per the relevant law were valid.
The court, however, held on Tuesday that as the enquiry to decide on contesting claims had not been completed within stipulated time, the notice was being set aside with directions to enquiry officer (EO) to carry out an enquiry within 12 months and not take any coercive action until then.
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A single-judge bench of Justice Milind N Jadhav on July 19 passed a judgment in a clutch of pleas filed by 18 persons challenging an order of Principal Judge, City Civil Court, which rejected their application for stay of enquiry made under section 105 B of Mumbai Municipal Corporation(MMC) Act.
The petitioners, members of Shraddha co-operative housing society, through senior advocate Rajendra Pai, argued that they were occupants or tenants of the rooms situated at the Chawl in Mitha Nagar area near BMC colony. Pai said that they were allotted the said premises on leave and license basis almost three to four decades back and subsequently, the civic body offered to give them ownership due to which they continued to remain in possession of the said premises.
However, advocate Dhruti Kapadia representing the BMC opposed the claims and submitted that the premises were allotted to petitioners only for occupation purpose during their tenure of service with the corporation as its employees.