Is the hut owner on the first floor also eligible for the house?

Department of Justice and Law favorable; Millions of slum dwellers hope for a home

Nishant Sarvankar
Mumbai: Under the Slum Rehabilitation Scheme, free housing will be provided to hut owners only till January 1, 2000, and only after January 1, 2011. However, a person living in the attic of the hut or on the first floor is disqualified. However, these hut owners can also be considered, said the Department of Justice and Law. As a result, millions of such slum dwellers now have hope of a home.

Bharatiya Janata Party MP Gopal Shetty first raised the issue in 2017. The then Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had favored it. Accordingly, the opinion of the Law and Justice Department was also invited. In his opinion, the attic on the hut, the hut owner living on the first floor is an unprotected holder as per the ‘F’ section of the amended notification of the hut act 2017 and they are eligible for an alternative house. The housing department did not take a decision on the matter at that time. This decision was pending after the election code of conduct came into force in the state. The matter is still with the housing department and a decision is likely to be announced by the Mahavikas Aghadi government ahead of the municipal elections.

The Department of Law and Justice said in its opinion that, as per the government decision dated July 11, 2001, the holder on the attic or first floor of the hut was ineligible for permanent rehabilitation. The High Court had given a similar decision. While giving final decision on the relevant petition on June 13, 2018, the High Court did not mention the Slum Act (Amendment) 2017 at all. According to Section 3B of the Slum Act, there are two groups, protected and unprotected. According to this, there is a provision to provide free house to the protected hut owner and to the unprotected hut owner at the cost of construction. However, under the amended law, hut owners living in the attic or on the first floor of the hut are considered as unprotected holders and are therefore eligible for alternative housing. Due to this opinion of the Department of Legal Justice, the hut owner on the first floor will also be eligible for the house. But whether to give them a paid house or in the Prime Minister’s Housing Scheme, a decision will have to be made. As hut owner is a sensitive issue for all political parties, it is going to sound good in the run up to the municipal elections.

MP Shetty has taken the lead and called on Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari to issue a notification in this regard. The governor has also promised to convene a meeting of the department concerned.

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