By Sunil Baghel, Mumbai Mirror | Jan 23, 2015, 12.00 AM IST
Hiranandani can’t build on open spaces, says HC

The Hiranandani Complex in Powai, where the eight societies are located
Eight societies in Powai had moved court alleging the developer was constructing low-cost houses on land parcels earmarked as their open space.

In a blow to Hiranandani Developers, the Bombay High Court has stopped the group’s plans of constructing low- cost housing on land parcels earmarked as “open space” for eight societies constructed between 1995 and 2007.

Justice Gautam Patel, accepting the plea raised by the eight societies against Lakeview Developers, passed an interim order against the developer to stop ongoing construction work, if any; not to utilise FSI of the open plots concerned; and not to create any third party rights in the proposed construction work. Lakeview Developers is a firm run by Niranjan Hiranandani and his family members.

The societies in Sector IV A of the Hiranandani Complex in Powai contended that concerned space was marked as common club house and recreational ground for their societies as disclosed to them in the layout in 2004. They further said that the developer cannot alter the plans without their consent. The suit filed by the societies seeks directions to the developer to issue conveyance of the land in their favour.

The societies contended that the designated open space was covered under the Maharashtra Ownership of Flats Act, which meant that it belonged to societies and that the developer could not make any alterations without societies’ permission.

The societies have alleged that the developer was trying to encroach upon the open space allotted to them in the guise of fulfilling a 2012 HC order. The suit and application for interim relief, filed by the societies through law firm Hariani & Co, alleged that the Hiranandanis have ample open space available at their disposal in the area, but are seeking to leave those open spaces for their “free sale” component instead of constructing the “low-cost housing” component over there.

By an order passed in February 2012, the HC had directed Hiranandani to handover the “low-cost housing” component in the complex to the State and MMRDA before proceeding with any further “free sale”.

Lakeview developers, however, contended that it had altered the development plan 13 times between 1990 and 2011, but none of the residents/societies opposed it even once. The developers also contended they have the right to alter plans for the area till the entire land taken by the government in 1986 was “fully developed” and the lease terms were fulfilled.

The Hiranandani Group had signed a lease for developing 230 acres of land in 1986 in a tripartite agreement with the State and the MMRDA at a paltry rate of 40 paise per acre to build affordable houses.

The HC, while hearing three PILs, had ruled that criminal cases can be filed against the developer and errant government officers. As per the agreement, Hiranandani was to construct 50 per cent of the flats measuring 430 sq ft and the remaining, 861 sq ft. Instead, according to the petitioners, flats were allowed to be merged to as large as 4,000-5,000 sq ft and sold at prices touching up to Rs 7 crore.

By an order passed on February 22, 2012, the division bench headed by Chief Justice Mohit Shah had restrained Hiranandani from starting any construction on the remaining area without its permission.