Bombay High Court Allows Byculla Private Building to Be Used as a Quarantine Facility

Bombay High Court Allows Byculla Private Building to Be Used as a Quarantine Facility

The Bombay High Court has formally allowed the BMC (Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation) to take possession of a private building known as Rangwalla Compound for use as a quarantine facility. This will be used only for those in contact with COVID-19 positive patients, the civic body has said. This comes after the developer, Neelkamal Realty Tower Pvt Ltd challenged BMC’s decision to use the building for quarantine purposes.

A bench consisting of Justices S J Kathawalla and N R Borkar said the following in their June 19 order - “As regards the grievances of the Tenants against the Petitioner Developer are concerned, the Tenants are granted liberty to pursue the proceedings taken out / proposed to be taken out by them, which proceedings shall be heard and decided independent of this order.”

The BMC has agreed to pay Rs 28 lakh per month towards transit accommodation for the building’s 200 plus original tenants. The BMC took possession of the private building in April and created a 1,000-bed facility for COVID-19 contacts. 

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Elaborating on the reasoning for this, special counsels for the BMC Aspi Chinoy and Anil Sakhare said that the building comes under E Ward which has reported 975 coronavirus cases so far. Additionally, there are 2,700 people who were in close contact with the patients, and hence need to be isolated at a quarantine facility.

The counsels mentioned that the BMC currently has three other quarantine facilities in addition to Rangwalla Compound. The civic body has maintained that it will pay the monthly amount until the building is handed back to the developer. 

It is important to note that a large majority of the tenants did not object to this decision by the BMC. A counsel for one of the tenants Adv. Vivek Shukla said that the tenants were not in a position to question or stop this as the construction of the building was illegal. The High Court added that 208 of the 218 tenants didn’t appear before the court to have their say.

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