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Queries that arose related to the Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning Act answered by a Larger Bench: Bombay High Court

On Monday the 25th of July, in the year 2022, The Bombay High Court passed a judgement in the case of Shree Vinayak Builders & Developers vs. The State of Maharashtra & Ors. (Writ Petition No. 2231 Of 2019) that dealt with the queries of the Division bench of the court in relation to the Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning Act. This judgement was decided by The Honourable Mr. Justice S. B. Shukre, The Honourable Ms. Justice Anuja Prabhudesai and The Honourable Mr. Justice A. L. Pansare.

FACTS OF THE CASE:

The Bench in this case has been constituted to pursue an order dated 27th January, 2022 by a Division Bench of this Court, comprising of Honourable Mr. Justice Sunil B. Shukre and Honourable Mr. Justice Anil D. Kilor. The Division Bench expressed disagreement with view taken by another Division Bench of this Court in the case of Asha Sunil Zawar vs. State of Maharashtra & Ors. The Division Bench referred the following questions for opinion to this Larger Bench:

  1. Whether the modes of acquisition provided under Section 126(1)(a) and (b) of the Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning Act, 1966 are at the choice of either of the parties or only of the acquiring authority?
  2. (ii) If the planning authority has approved the request of the land owner for grant of monetary compensation or grant of TDR/FSI in lieu of compensation, can the land owner withdraw his request and thereby refuse or decline to surrender the land?
  3. (iii) Can the grant of approval or passing of resolution by the authorities concerned for grant of TDR in lieu of monetary compensation be treated as a step for acquisition of land and thereby commencing the proceedings for acquisition of the land?

JUDGEMENT:

The court in its judgement proclaimed the answers for the above questions.

Answer to Question 1. – This Court holds that the acquisition under Section 126(1)(a) and (b) of the Maharashtra Regional & Town Planning Act, 1966 has to be by consensus between both the parties and not only at the option of the Acquiring Authority.

 Answer to Question 2. – Mere approval of the request of the land owner to grant of monetary compensation or grant of TDR/FSI in lieu of compensation by itself will not always result in a concluded contract and the question would have to be determined in the facts and circumstances of each case. Therefore, the land owner can withdraw his request and refuse or decline to surrender the land as long as there is no concluded contract between the parties.

Answer to Question 3. – Mere grant of approval or passing of resolution by the authorities concerned for grant of TDR/FSI in lieu of monetary compensation is not a step for acquisition of land, thereby commencing the proceedings for the acquisition of land, unless it concludes the contract between the parties.

The court after answering these questions placed the matter before the original Bench for passing further orders.

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JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY TANAV ZACHARIAH.

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