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HC quashes lease rent demand notices to judges' society


Press Trust of India Mumbai
The Bombay High Court has quashed three notices issued by the Maharashtra government demanding Rs 4 crore as lease rent arrears from a housing society of retired judges.
A division bench of Justices R M Borde and V L Achliya was hearing a petition filed by Foreshore Housing Society challenging notices issued by the government in 1995, 1996 and 2016.
The government had demanded arrears and interest of lease rent from October 1989 to December 2016.
According to the petition, in 1980 few judges of the high court requested the government to allot land for a housing society for retired and serving judges.
In 1983, the government allotted them land in suburban Malad at a rent of Rs 2,280 per square meter per annum.
The society initially agreed to the rent, but later it learnt that an adjoining plot allotted for government servants' society was charged less rent.
The petitioners sought that their lease rent should therefore be reduced.
In 1995, the Collector of Mumbai informed them that the request to reduce the rent had been rejected, and they will have to pay the rent at the rate of Rs 2,280 per square meter, alongwith arrears and interest, from November 1983 to November 1995.
The second demand notice was issued in September 1996, following which the society moved the high court in 1997.
During the pendency of the petition, a third demand notice was issued in November 2016 demanding Rs 4.40 crore for the period between October 1989 to December 2016.
The high court held that the society should have been given a hearing before the government fixed the lease rent rate.
"The petitioner society has not been extended an opportunity of hearing before fixation of rent," the court said, quashing the demand notices.
It asked the government to decide the society's representation afresh after giving it a hearing.

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First Published: Jan 31 2019 | 10:15 PM IST

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