*Image credit The Telegraph

In a landmark judgement the Jharkhand High Court today has ruled in favour of the flat owners of Morabadi’s Ratan Heights. 

Maintaining that the open space of 46 kattha of land belonged to the flat owners of the 12-storied Ratan Heights, the single bench of Justice Rajesh Shankar ordered demolition of all construction on the open space, reconstruction of the damaged property of the apartment and to fill the pit within a month.

On a petition filed by a flat owner Rinki Yadav and others, the court  also quashed the building plan approved for construction of a new building on the open space and previous orders of Ranchi Municipal Corporation and the tribunal.

The flat owners were represented by VP Singh and Sumeet Garodia.

Talking to media, flat owners said the land owner and the new builder have been directed by the court to reconstruct all the amenities and approach road damaged during construction of the new building.
The multistoried building at Morabadi that houses many big wigs including two retired IAS officials AK Sarkar and KK Khandelwal, was in news recently when a car fell down in the pit dug up in front of the apartment. 

Residents said Ratan Height had a total of 86 katthas of land of which 46 katthas was left as open space for creating amenities and common facilities etc. The open space is owned by the flat owners, but the land owner in connivance with RMC officials engaged a builder and got the building plan approved last year. The society had moved the tribunal, but the case was so weak that the society lost it. 

The society then moved the High Court, but seeing the society’s case was very weakly put up, Rinki Yadav and other flat ownerss filed a separate petition and won finally, a resident claimed jubilantly. 
It is important to highlight that the entire process was set in motion by the unfortunate incident of the road's destruction and the subsequent fall of the car into the adjacent pit. 

This incident prompted Khandelwal sir to urgently take control of the situation and file the interlocutory application, recognizing the immediate need to address the legal complexities and secure a favorable outcome for all parties involved, a resident said.

In addition, it is crucial to address the misconceptions surrounding the favorable outcome of the case in court and the role of the interlocutory application. Firstly, it should be emphasized that prior to the filing of the interlocutory application, the flat owers had experienced several losses in the case over the past 5 years. 

These defeats underscore the significance of the application and its impact on achieving the favorable outcome. The interlocutory application and the new writ petition acted as a turning point, introducing crucial elements that had been overlooked in previous attempts, and ultimately contributing to the overall success of the case.

Furthermore, it is noteworthy that earlier petitions failed to address the explicit provisions outlined in the Jharkhand Apartment Ownership Act 2005 and 2011. This legislation clearly states that joint ownership over common areas resides with the flat owner. It is crucial to recognize that this critical aspect was only raised following the filing of the interlocutory application, which significantly influenced the favorable outcome of the case.

Moreover, it is surprising that no mention was made of landmark cases, such as the Supertech case and other high court cases, which have established the principle of joint ownership resting with the flat owner. These precedents could have provided substantial support to the case had they been properly invoked and utilized.

Another weak point in the case was the discrepancy between the name under which the case was filed earlier (Jaipuriar ji) and the registered owner of the flat (his wife). This inconsistency could have raised doubts about the locus standi of the case. However, thanks to the interlocutory application, this potential weakness was effectively addressed and mitigated, a flat owner said.

In conclusion, the favorable outcome of the case could be obtained only due to filing of the fresh writ petition  by some of the flat owners, a flat owner said.

This intervention brought forth essential documents, legal precedents, and addressed critical weaknesses that had previously led to losses in the case over the course of five years, he added. 


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