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Retaining Possession Post Land Acquisition Is Trespass: Bombay High Court

A decision that upheld eviction orders issued against a group of unlawful tenants claiming tenancy rights at Mumbai International Airport was pronounced by the Bombay High Court through a single bench of Justice Sandeep K. Shinde in the case of Becharabhai B. Chauhan v Mumbai International Airport Pvt. Ltd. and Anr (WRIT PETITION STAMP NO. 3715 OF 2020 )

FACTS OF THE CASE:

The Airport officials had filed eviction applications under Section 28-D of the Airports Authority of India Act, 1994, seeking the expulsion of the petitioners from the Airport grounds.

The petitioners opposed the petitions, claiming that they had been inhabiting their individual constructions for the past 40 years as tenants of one Mr. Ambroce Creado. In proof, they annexed Ration Cards, Property Tax Bills, Electricity Bills, and Aadhar Cards. Regardless, under cross-examination, the petitioners acknowledged that they were unable to show their ownership of the structures or that the property beneath the structures belonged to Creado (their landlord). Creado, in fact, had abandoned his lawsuit against the Airport Authority as early as March of 2013.

JUDGEMENT:

The evidence on record, according to the single judge, shows that the airport premises are part of greater property that was purchased by the Airports Authority of India in 1947 under the Land Acquisition Act, 1894. The Eviction Officer determined that petitioners were unlawfully occupying a portion of the Airport premises and ordered them to depart in accordance with Section 28-D of the Act of 1994.

As a result, the sole judge ruled that the eviction orders issued against the petitioners, who were unlawful tenants of Airport Premises, require no intervention and dismissed the cases.

JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY REETI SHETTY

Click here to view judgement

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