Senior Citizens Must Not Suffer Due to Stalled Redevelopment of Residential Buildings: Bombay HC

Senior citizens in their “twilight years” can not be made to suffer because of delayed or stalled redevelopment of residential buildings, the Bombay High Court has said.

A bench of Justices G S Kulkarni and Firdosh Pooniwalla in an order on January 25 sought replies from authorities on a plea filed by a 65-year-old woman who said she has become “homeless” because of the stalled redevelopment of her building in suburban Mulund.

“The court would not be powerless to issue appropriate directions to ensure that the fundamental rights guaranteed to senior citizens in respect of their entitlement of a shelter in their twilight years are not taken away under the garb of a failed or delayed redevelopment, making them to irreparably suffer,” the HC said.

“They need to be protected,” the judges added.

Jayashree Dholi, the petitioner, claimed that she vacated her flat in 2019 when it was decided that the old building would be redeveloped.

M/s Square One Realty was appointed to construct a new building, but the builder was unable to start work due to financial troubles.

As a result, she has been rendered homeless in old age with no clarity as to when the construction would be complete and she would get possession of her new flat, Dholi said.

She sought the high court’s intervention, stating that her fundamental rights were being violated.

The bench said that prima facie it found substance in the petitioner’s argument that senior citizens cannot be left to suffer at this stage of life due to “delayed or impossible” redevelopment.

The court issued notices to the Maharashtra government, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and other authorities, seeking replies and adjourning the case to February.

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