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BOMBAY HC RESCUES THE MAJORITY OF MEMBERS TO WIN OVER REDEVELOPMENT

When the trivial and baseless objections raised by the minority of members try to interrupt or overpower the genuine need of the majority of members of the Society in the matter of redevelopment, the Bombay High Court has recently delivered a concrete decision that the decision of redevelopment taken by a majority of members in Housing Society's General Body will prevail.

Brushing aside the objections raised by three members of Jaydeep Apartments Cooperative Housing Society situated in Borivli (W), Justice S J Vazifdar paved the way for the 27 year old building's redevelopment and ordered the dissenting three members to vacate their flats by April 30, 2012.

It was observed by the Court that these three aggrieved members had not attended the Society's General Body Meeting in which the redevelopment decision was taken.

The positive stance of the Justice was obviously in favour of the Developer, the Society and the 51 members who were waiting for the redevelopment of their dilapidated building and to have their new flats. The Judge said that if the reliefs sought are not granted, they would, for reasons apparent to enumerate, suffer grave and irreparable harm and injury.

The Court was hearing a petition filed by Vaz Infrastructure Ltd seeking eviction of the three flat owners as they had refused to vacate the premises. While ordering the three flat owners to vacate their flats, the Court observed that they would not suffer much harm and that their interests are safeguarded in every possible manner especially by their being put in possession of flats which are of greater value than their existing flats.

The Court referred to earlier judgments in such cases and held that a Developer could approach the Court seeking implementation of a deal struck between the Developer and a Housing Society when the project fails to take off for various reasons including opposition from a minority group of flat owners.

These judgments held that the Developer, in such circumstances, can maintain an action for obtaining possession of the property from the Society; that in such an action, reliefs, including interim, can be granted requiring the dissenting members to hand over possession of their flats to the Developer through the Society and that the minuscule dissenting minority is bound to comply with the resolutions duly passed by the Society for the redevelopment, held by the Court. The Court said that the Developers are at liberty to launch legal proceedings to claim damages from those members who fail to vacate.

Jaydeep Housing Society comprises two wings with an extension and has 54 members. In 2010, following a General Body Meeting, the Society decided to go in for redevelopment and appointed Vaz Infrastructure Ltd as the Developer. As per the Development Agreement between the Developer and the Society, all flat owners were to vacate their flats by July 2011.

In Court, the plea of these three members was that they doubted the capability of the Developer to carry out the work. But the Court said that 51 members had taken a decision and the three had not challenged the redevelopment proposal itself in the meeting in which the Developer was selected. Hence, it was held by the Court that the redevelopment decision taken by the Housing Society's General Body will prevail and orders the three to vacate their flats.

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