Earlier this year, Dr Ruchira Manjrekar and 15 others who hold commercial premises in Sunshine Tower—it was built in 2012 as part of free sale component in a slum rehabilitation scheme—had dragged the builder, Sunshine Developers & Infrastructure, to court. Their counsel Bhavin Gada, Zal Andhyarujina and Sharan Jagtiani contended that the builder failed to pay civic taxes for common area maintenance and electric charges for unsold premises. There are 40-odd other occupants who have also defaulted, a suit filed through advocate Siddhesh Bhole, for recovery, said. The BMC had cut water supply to the building due to the “huge” dues.
On February 26, Justice S J Kathawalla directed the builder to pay its share of property tax of Rs 1.7 crore to the BMC by March 28. The builder didn’t pay. Justice Kathawala observed how such failure caused “great hardship” to other unit holders who had paid their share of civic dues. “If such large amount remains unpaid, there is always a risk that BMC will take coercive steps against the building,” he said.
The builder sought to pay in instalments, but BMC disagreed. Justice Kathwalla extended the deadline till April 9. But the builder appealed before a bench of Justices Naresh Patil and Anuja Prabhudessai on April 9. His counsel Shiraz Rustomjee, pleaded financial constraints and sought three months to make payment in instalments. Andhyarujina opposed to any concession as it was case of “statutory dues”. Civic counsel R Y Sirsikar maintained that instalments can’t be permitted for property tax payment. The bench found “no error’’ in Justice Kathawalla’s order, but gave the builder four more weeks to make payment.