The fight between Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT) and 2,500 tenants on the port land, who are trying to enforce their tenancy rights on the structures, is likely to intensify in the Bombay High Court in the coming days.
As the port continues to serve eviction and penalty notices on the tenants, some who’s who have also featured in the list. Alyque Padamsee, a noted theatre and advertising personality and an MbPT lessee, has been levied a penalty of R1 crore for non-submission of actual occupants list.
Padamsee is just one of the several tenants who have approached the Bombay HC challenging port trust’s actions. Some of the high-profile cases include one between MbPT and Indian Hotels — the operators of Taj Group of hotels — over rent revision. Recently, eviction notice was served on Metro House in Colaba, which houses the popular Cafe Mondegar.
The tenants residing or conducting business in over 5,000 structures spread across 275 hectares, stretching from Sasson Dock in south Mumbai to Sewri-Wadala area, have filed and got 33 writ petitions admitted in the Bombay HC in what they are calling akin to a ‘class-action suit’ against the Mumbai Port Trust.
The petitioners are alleging their leases have not been renewed or regularised despite a 2004 Supreme Court order directing the Trust to charge reasonable rentals and regularise leases in terms of the MbPT’s own ‘compromise proposals’.
Meanwhile, the port trust says it has been struggling for over two decades on account of breaches from majority of its tenants housed in residential, commercial and industrial establishments housed on prime land along the scenic Arabian Sea front.
Ravi Parmar, the chairman, MbPt, had earlier told FE the port will not renew the leases which do not have a renewal clause and that cases will be filed against such tenants under the Public Premises Act.
Majority of the breaches, MbPt claims, entail not leaving the premises despite the expiry of the lease tenure, encroachments over and above the permissible area and tenants not informing the port trust when sub-letting the premises.