The Bombay High Court on Monday asked Maharashtra Government to inform it on August 26 the number of cases in which it had lodged FIRs against those who had secured double or multiple allotment of flats from the Chief Minister's discretionary quota by wrong disclosure of facts. The court also asked the state government to inform it on the same day (August 26) the number of cases of double or multiple allottees having surrendered the flats.
A bench headed by Justice Abhay Oka was hearing a PIL filed by activist Ketan Tirodkar challenging double or multiple allotment of houses from CM's quota. The State informed the court that a house is allotted to a person from the discretionary quota on condition that he does not own a flat in the limits of the city or district from where he lives. But in some cases it had come to its notice that people file false affidavits affirming that they do not own flats and seek double allotments.
The bench said that if work is not completed by that time on furnishing data regarding such wrongful allotments and the number of allottees having surrendered the flats, then it would come out with a time-bound programme to deal with it.
The government had earlier informed the high court that it had stopped allotting houses from CM's quota in keeping with the court's order scrapping the state's policy on the issue. The State had also informed the court that those who had secured flats from the CM's discretionary quota on the basis of false declaration about not owning a house, will face prosecution.
On March 20, the high court had struck down the state's policy for allotment of houses to the beneficiaries under the CM's quota. Describing the policy as "illegal, irrational and unfair", the court had asked the state to frame a new policy which should be transparent and fair.
The bench had also restrained the state from making further allotments from the CM's quota under the policy struck down by the court. The court had observed in its March 20 order that the chief minister had "absolute and unfettered" discretion in allotment of houses which was not fair. Members of the public should be informed that such schemes were available for them, it had said.
Under the CM's discretionary quota, flats were being allotted to various categories of people such as freedom fighters, artists, sports persons, journalists and government employees. The PIL argued that beneficiaries of flats under CM's quota were either related to MLAs or MPs or were influential politicians themselves and the common man did not benefit from those schemes.
The petitioner alleged the government had not taken action against those who had secured more than one flat after making false declarations, either by way of registering an FIR or cancelling the allotment.
He said the list of allottees submitted by the state to the court was not exhaustive and some names were missing. The government had earlier filed two affidavits stating what action they had taken against such beneficiaries.
One of affidavits said 14 cases had been identified wherein the same person or their spouse had been allotted more than one house under the CM's 5% quota. In two of these cases, the affidavit said, action had been initiated. In one case, FIR had been filed against the allottee by the competent authority and, in the other, the state had taken back the tenement. The state is going to take appropriate legal action against the remaining allottees also, it said.