Jijaba Dashrath Shinde v. State of Maharashtra: Bombay High Court's Landmark Order on Eviction Notices


Chambers of Ishaan Garg

Ch. No. 217, Western Wing, District & Sessions Court, Tis Hazari, New Delhi, Delhi 110054

+91 8851742417, +91 8800386163

Writ Petition No. 5671 of 2024

Order: 21-Feb-2024

Bombay High Court's Landmark Order on Eviction Notices

1. High Court's Order

In a significant move, the Bombay High Court has directed statutory authorities to refrain from issuing eviction notices that expire on weekends. This allows the affected parties to seek relief from the competent authority or the High Court as needed.

2. Humanitarian Concerns

The court emphasized the human aspect of the issue, stating that the affected individuals are not mere pieces on a chess board to be moved or removed at will. The court stressed that their concerns and humanity cannot be disregarded once they are compensated monetarily.

3. The Case

The order was passed by a division bench comprising Justices GS Patel and Kamal Khatta in response to urgent petitions filed by former slum dwellers. These individuals were asked to vacate their homes of 20 years within a span of just seven days.

4. Special Bench Constituted

A special High Court bench was constituted to hear the occupants on a Saturday, given the unavailability of the Slum Rehabilitation Authority's Apex Grievance Redressal Committee.

5. Direction for Future Evictions

The court proposed a direction applicable to all authorities, stating that eviction notices should specify a date and not merely hours. Furthermore, the specified date should not fall on a weekend when courts are unavailable to the affected persons.

6. Justice and Fair Treatment

The court asserted that justice under our Constitution implies the right to expect fair treatment from an administrative authority and, if denied, the right to approach a court for redressal.

7. The Residents' Situation

The court was dealing with two writ petitions filed by the residents of Abdul Gafar Khan Road, Worli. Originally slum dwellers, they were rehabilitated in 2002/2006 and were informed that these were permanent alternate accommodations.

8. Abrupt Eviction Notice

In February 2024, the residents were abruptly served eviction notices under Sections 33 & 38 of the Slum Act. The developer, Sattdhar Construction Pvt Ltd, had the letter of intent amended to classify their buildings as transit camps.

9. Offer of Transit Rent

The tenants were offered a transit rent of Rs. 19,500 per month. A few petitioners who rejected the offer were compelled to approach the High Court on a weekend due to the AGRC's unavailability.

10. Court's Response to Evictions

While the court ordered a status quo on Saturday, some occupants who hadn't approached the High Court were evicted from their homes. When the matter was finally heard on Wednesday, the court expressed its displeasure at the manner of eviction and the AGRC's indifference.

11. Court's Directive to AGRC

The court demanded an explanation from the Apex Grievance Redressal Committee (“AGRC”) for its unavailability and directed it to assemble and hear the occupants on merits the same day. The court warned the AGRC of action against every member in case of non-compliance.

12. Court's Question to SRA

The court questioned how the Slum Rehabilitation Authority (“SRA”), which is meant to look after the welfare of slum dwellers, could suddenly allow the uprooting of families after 18-20 years.

13. Directive to the Developer

The court directed the developer to ensure the availability of alternative rental premises in the vicinity. It reminded statutory authorities, including the SRA and the AGRC, that the welfare envisaged by the Slum Act is not that of builders.