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A Redevelopment Project should be with the consent of all the members. Even if the rights of a single Member are hampered, he can have recourse to the Court of Law for defending his rights. However, this gives rise to an overabundance of litigations filed by members insistent in having their own say in the Redevelopment Project which makes the whole process unyielding to desired results.

Redevelopment Projects of Housing Societies are usually weighed down/saddled with either complaints of unhealthy or unlawful practice by the Developers or of grudges against the Managing Committee by dissenting members. The blatant violation of mandatory guidelines and procedures prescribed by the Government of Maharashtra as contained in GR Dated 03/01/2009 for the process of redevelopment followed by objections raised by a minuscule minority dissenting with the other Members of the Housing Society may hinder and stall the entire redevelopment process.

Unless there are elements of frauds and lack of maintenance of absolute transparency between the Managing Committee, members of the Society and the Developer in entire process of redevelopment, a handful of members cannot disapprove the decision of redevelopment consented by majority of the members at General Body of the Housing Society. If the dissents of minority are the cause of an impediment for securing the larger interests of the other Society members and the Developer, the same cannot stand in the way of redevelopment of a property.

In the recent case of Vas Infrastructure Limited V/s Jaydeep Apartment CHS Ltd. & Others, the Bombay high Court has recently justified and upheld that a firm decision taken by a majority of Members at the Society's General Body for redevelopment shall prevail over the minority of uncooperative members. The IOD was issued by the BMC to the Developer on 27th April, 2011 and all the members were bound to vacate their premises within sixty days thereof i.e. on or before 26th June, 2011.

Brushing aside the objections raised by three members of Jaydeep Apartments Cooperative Housing Society in Borivli (W), Justice S J Vazifdar paved the way for the 27 year old building's redevelopment and ordered the dissenting three members of the Society to vacate their flats by April 30, 2012.

The Court observed that these three members had not even attended the Society's General Body Meeting in which the redevelopment decision was taken. Even if, some allegations were taken note of, cannot be the reason to halt the project in such fashion especially when majority of members and the Society are willing to proceed and continue with the Redevelopment Project as already agreed.

The Court was hearing a petition filed by Vaz Infrastructure Ltd seeking eviction of the three flat owners as they had refused to vacate the premises. While ordering the three to vacate their flats, the Court said they would not suffer much harm as their interests are safeguarded in every possible manner, especially by their being put in possession of flats which are of greater value than their own flats.

The Court referred to earlier judgments in such cases and held that a Developer could approach the Court seeking execution of a redevelopment deal struck between the Developer and Housing Society when the project fails to take off for various reasons including opposition from a small group of flat owners.

The judgment held that the Developer, in such circumstances, can maintain an action for obtaining possession of the property from the Society and in such an action, reliefs, including interim, can be granted by the Court necessitating the dissenting members to hand over possession of their flats to the Developer through the Society and that they are bound to comply with the resolutions duly passed by the Society for the redevelopment.

The Court said that the Developers are at liberty to launch legal proceedings to claim damages from members who fail to vacate their flats. The judge clarified that he was not concerned with the issue as no such application was before the Court.

Jaydeep Housing Society which comprises two wings with an extension and 54 Members decided in their General Body Meeting held in the year 2010 to go for redevelopment and appointed Vaz Infrastructure Limited as the builder. As per the Redevelopment Agreement between said Developer and the Society, all flat owners were to vacate the premises by July 2011.

In Court, the three members doubted the Developer’s capability to carry out the work. The Court observed that neither these three Members participated in the proceedings of General Body Meeting to oppose the proposal of the redevelopment nor they chose to question the wisdom of the General Body reflected in the Resolution dated 3rd February 2008 before appropriate forum.

The Bombay High Court ruled that the redevelopment decision taken by the Housing Society's General Body will prevail and ordered the three mutinous members to vacate their flats by April 30, 2012.

It is evident from such kind of judgment that Managing Committees of several Housing Societies may try to twist the integral meaning of said judgment for their own benefits and interest. Under the shelter of the term “Minority can’t stop Redevelopment”, Managing Committees keen on redevelopment may misuse the judgment and resort to arm twisting tactics to induce members to consent for redevelopment and sub-serve their own gains.  

However, in the case referred herein above, certain glaring issues have to be noted that the Minority members who opposed the redevelopment had never attended the Redevelopment Meetings at all and did not register their objection or opinions in the General Meetings nor had any valid reasons acceptable to Court. The argument of minority members was that they doubted the competence of the Developer in successfully accomplish the Redevelopment Project.

If the Managing Committee violates the laid down rules or resorts to corrupt practice, non-transparency, fraud or cheating, the same can be challenged by minority and get an appropriate judgment. The Law never restricts the right of the minority members provided there are some merits in their disagreement. The General Body is supreme only when their decisions are within the frame work of Laws. The judgment referred herein above, is valid only when a minority members deliberately try to stop the redevelopment without any genuine reasons.

Before approaching the Law, the members in minority should have enough documentary evidences in respect of irregularities and illegalities in Redevelopment Process, illegal gratifications showered by Developers on corrupt Managing Committees or their alleged criminal and felonious acts.

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