Tenants urge government to get senior counsel to defend Maharashtra Rent Act in SC

December 2, 2023

MUMBAI: Tenants associations across the city have written to the chief minister and housing minister urging them to appoint senior counsel and a top firm of solicitors to defend the Maharashtra Rent Control Act, 1999, and Chapter VIII of the MHADA Act before the Supreme Court.

“The Property Owners Association (an association of landlords) and others have filed cases before the Supreme Court challenging the constitutional validity of the Rent Control Act and Chapter VIII A of MHADA Act which provides for ownership to tenants over the premises. The matter has been pending since 2000, and now the date for hearing is February 6, before a nine-judge bench. The matter will have a far reaching effect on crores of tenants in Mumbai and Maharashtra,” said Pravin Jain, vice president, JVPD Tenants and Residents Association.

Vidula Warawdekar, a South Mumbai resident of a tenanted building, said, “If the Supreme Court allows the petitions, it could mean the end of rent control in Maharashtra with landlords being able to charge whatever rent they want or throw tenants out. If the Supreme Court dismisses the petitions, tenants would be protected,” she said.

In a letter to CM Eknath Shinde, the tenants have asked for a commitment to protect the rights of tenants, considering the history of rent control in the state and the actual payment of ‘Pugree’ by tenants.

Mumbai guardian minister and BJP MLA from Malabar Hill in South Mumbai Mangal Prabhat Lodha said he would communicate the concerns of the tenants to the CM and the deputy CMs. Lodha said he would also hold a meeting with tenants to understand their issues. “We are committed to protect the interests of the tenants and it is in the interest of the tenants and landlords to carry out redevelopment of old and dilapidated buildings,” he said.

Ashish Shelar, BJP Mumbai unit president, said he would be holding a meeting with tenants before the winter session of the state legislature begins on December 7. “The BJP’s stand is to protect the interests of the tenants. We shall pursue the matter with the government to ensure tenants interests are properly represented in court. In case tenants lose in court then we shall take up the issue through the legislature and formulate a law to protect them,” he said.

Varsha Gaikwad, president, Mumbai Regional Congress Committee, said the party stands firmly with tenants.

  • Published On Dec 2, 2023 at 09:22 AM IST

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