18 October 2019
Supreme Court


Case number: C.A. No.-007784-007787 / 2019
Diary number: 21628 / 2017




Civil Appeal Nos. 7784-7787 of 2019 (Arising out of S.L.P. (C) Nos.19206-19209 of 2017)

Kantabai Vasant Ahir & Ors. .... Appellant(s)


Slum Rehabilitation Authority & Ors.        …. Respondent (s)



1. In  exercise  of  the  power  under  Section  3C  of  the

Maharashtra Slums Areas (Improvement, Clearance and Re-

development)  Act,  1971  (hereinafter  referred  to  as  “the

Act”), Respondent No.1 declared 5168.50 sq. mts. in Survey

Nos. 27 and 28 (Part) at Ramwadi Wadgoan Sheri, Pune as

Slum  Rehabilitation  Area  by  an  Order  dated  24.05.2006.

The Slum Clearance Order under Section 3D of the Act was

passed  in  respect  of  the  aforementioned  land  on

01.09.2009.   The  above  orders  were  subject  matter  of

challenge  before  the  Maharashtra  Slum  Areas  (IC  &  R)



Tribunal,  Mumbai  in  Appeal  Nos.24  and  25  of  2014.

The  Appeals  were  partly  allowed  by  the  Tribunal.

The  aforementioned  orders  dated  24.05.2006  and

01.09.2009 were set aside only in respect of 1045.50 sq.

mts. out of 5168.50 sq. mts.  The order of the Tribunal was

challenged by Respondent Nos. 1 and 2 in the High Court by

filing a Writ Petition.  The owner of the land, Respondent

No.3 also filed a Writ Petition in the High Court questioning

the legality of the order of the Tribunal.   The High Court

allowed both the Writ Petitions and set aside the order of

the Tribunal.  The High Court further declared that the slum

rehabilitation area declaration and the slum clearance order

would  apply  to  the  entire  area  of  5168.50  sq.  mts.

Dissatisfied  with  the  judgment  of  the  High  Court,  the

Appellants are before us.   

2. Respondent No. 3 is the owner of the land in Survey

Nos.27,  28  and  29  admeasuring  12,381  sq.  mts.  at

Wadgaon Sheri, Pune.  An area of 4123 sq. mts. in Survey

Nos. 27 and 28 was declared as a “Slum” under Section 4(1)

of  the  Slum  Rehabilitation  Act,  1971  on  10.11.1983.

Pursuant  to  the  recommendation  made  by  Afzalpurkar



Committee  to  establish  an  independent  authority  for

rehabilitation  of  slum  dwellers,  the  Act  was  amended

incorporating Chapter I-A by Act 4 of 1996.

3. Respondent  No.3  filed  RCS  No.365  of  2000  seeking

eviction of Appellant No.1’s husband. Initially, Respondent

No.3 averred in the suit that the Appellants were required to

be evicted after permission was granted by the competent

authority  since  the  area  occupied  by  Appellants  was

declared  as  a  slum  area.   Respondent  No.3  filed  an

Application  for  amendment  of  the  plaint  in  which  it  was

stated that  the permission of  the competent authority  to

initiate eviction proceedings against the Appellants was not

required as the area under occupation of the Appellants was

not  a  slum  area.   The  Application  for  Amendment  was

allowed by the Small Causes Court, Pune by an order dated


4. On  24.05.2006,  Respondent  No.1  passed  an  order

declaring 5168.50 sq. mts. in Survey Nos.27 and 28 (Part) at

Wadgaon  Sheri  (Ramwadi),  Pune  as  a  slum rehabilitation

area.  It was mentioned in the said order that 4123 sq. mts.



falling  within  Survey  Nos.27  and  28  (Part)  was  already

declared as a slum area on 10.11.1983.  By adding 1045.50

sq. mts. of undeclared area with 4123 sq. mts. of declared

area,  the area of the Scheme was shown as 5168.50 sq.

mts.  Thereafter, an order was passed by Respondent No.2

under  Section  3D  read  with  Section  12(4)  of  the  Act  on

01.09.2009 declaring 5168.50 sq.  mts.  in Survey Nos.  27

and 28 (Part) as Slum Clearance Area.  The Appellants filed

C.S.No.97  of  2013  before  the  City  Civil  Court,  Pune,  for

declaration that the property in dispute was not a slum area

and that Respondent No.1 lacked jurisdiction to declare the

area as a slum.  Respondent No.1 appeared before the court

and produced the Orders dated 24.05.2006 and 01.09.2009

passed under Section 3C and 3D of the Act.  Thereafter, the

Appellants filed Appeal Nos. 24 and 25 of 2014 questioning

the Orders dated 24.05.2006 and 01.09.2009.      As stated

above,  the Tribunal  partially  allowed the Appeals  and set

aside the Orders dated 24.05.2006 and 01.09.2009 to the

extent of 1045.50 sq. mts. of land.  

5. The  Appellants  were  found  by  the  Tribunal  to  be

occupants of tenements in the disputed area and therefore,



are persons aggrieved as contemplated under Section 3C(2)

of the Act.  The Tribunal concluded that the Appellants were

not given sufficient opportunity as provided in Section 36 of

the Act before the order dated 24.05.2006 was passed.  By

holding that 1045.50 sq. mts. was not a declared area, the

Tribunal  set  aside  the  Orders  dated  24.05.2006  and


6. The High Court reversed the Order of the Tribunal after

a detailed consideration of the provisions of the Act and the

facts of the case.  The High Court held that a declaration of

an area as a slum area under Section 4(1) of the Act is not

required before proceedings are initiated under Chapter I-A

of  the  Act.   The  High  Court  declared  that  the  Slum

Rehabilitation  Authority  was  discharging  legislative

functions while exercising powers under Sections 3A to 3D

of the Act.  The High Court was of the further opinion that

no  pre-decisional  hearing  prior  to  the  issuance  of

declaration  by  the  SRA  under  Section  3C  of  the  Act  is

necessary.   Moreover,  the Appellants were not entitled to

hearing as they were neither owners nor long term lessees.

The scope of  Section  12 of  the  Act  as  construed by  the



Appellants  was  not  accepted  by  the  High  Court.   The

interpretation  of  Section  36  by  the  Tribunal  was  not

accepted  by  the  High  Court.   The  Special  Rules  and

Regulations  governing  the  Slum Rehabilitation  Scheme in

the  present  case  were  relied  upon  to  conclude  that

encumbered  area  can  also  be  declared  as  rehabilitation

area.  The plea of  mala fide made by the Appellants was

also rejected by the High Court.   

7. Mr.  Guru  Krishna  Kumar,  learned  Senior  Counsel

appearing for the Appellants submitted that the Act applies

only to slum areas.  He further contended that the Order

dated 24.05.2006 passed under Section 3C of the Act and

the Order dated 01.09.2009 passed under Section 3D of the

Act  are  unsustainable.   He  submitted  that  a  notification

under Section 4 of the Act is a prerequisite for initiation of

steps under Chapter I-A.  As there is no notification under

Section  4  in  respect  of  1045.50  sq.  mts.,  the  entire

proceedings  under  Section  3C  and  3D  are  vitiated.  He

argued that the High Court committed an error in relying

upon  the  judgments  of  the  High  Court  of  Judicature  at



Bombay  which  pertained  to  Development  Control


8. Mr.  Shyam  Divan,  learned  Senior  Counsel  for

Respondent Nos.1 and 2 defended the judgment of the High

Court.  He argued that the judgment of the High Court is in

accord with the provisions of the Act.  Chapter I-A, Sections

4, 12 and 36 have been correctly interpreted by the High

Court.   He  also  relied  upon  the  Special  Rules  and

Regulations  for  Slum Rehabilitation  Scheme applicable  to

Pune  and  Pimpri  Chinchwad  Municipal  Corporation/  City

Area to submit that even encumbered lands can be part of

the Slum Rehabilitation Area.  He further submitted that the

Tribunal committed an error in holding that Appellants were

entitled for a notice before the order under Section 3C was

passed.     He contended that there is no necessity of a

notification  of  an  area  as  a  slum  area  under  Section  4

before a declaration is made under Section 3C of the Act.   

9. Mr. P.S. Patwalia, learned Senior Counsel appearing for

Respondent  No.3  brought  to  our  notice  that  all  the  slum

dwellers  except  the  Appellants  have  shifted  to  transit



accommodation.          The entire Scheme has been held up

by the Appellants who belong to three families.   He also

stated  that  even  the  Appellants  shall  be  entitled  to  get

ownership  flats  after  the  development  is  completed.   He

further submitted that the judgment of the High Court is in

the interest of the other slum dwellers who were occupying

tenements in the Slum Rehabilitation Area.   

10. It  is  necessary  to  refer  to  the  relevant  statutory

provisions  for  a  better  understanding  of  the  dispute.

Section 2(ga)  defines slum area as any area declared as

such by the competent authority under sub-section (1) of

Section  4.   Slum Rehabilitation  Area,  Slum Rehabilitation

Authority  and Slum Rehabilitation  Scheme are  defined  in

Section 2 (h-b),  (h-c)  and (h-d).   Section 4(1)  which falls

under  Chapter  II  deals  with  declaration of  slum areas  as


4. Declaration of slum areas

1[(1)  Where  the  Competent  Authority  is

satisfied that–


1 Sub-section (1) was substituted by Mah.23 of 1973, s. 102, Sch.II.  



(a)  any  area  is  or  may  be  a  source  of

danger to the health, safety or convenience of

the public of that area or of its neighbourhood,

by reason of the area having inadequate or no

basic  amenities,  or  being insanitary,  squalid,

overcrowded or otherwise; or  

(b)  the  buildings  in  any  area,  used  or

intended to be used for human habitation are


 (i)  in  any  respect,  unfit  for  human

habitation; or

 (ii)  by  reasons  of  dilapidation,

overcrowding, faulty arrangement and design

of  such  buildings,  narrowness  or  faulty

arrangement  of  streets,  lack  of  ventilation,

light or sanitation facilities or any combination

of  these  factors,  detrimental  to  the  health,

safety  or  convenience  of  the  public  of  that


the Competent Authority may, by notification

in the Official Gazette , declare such area to be

a slum area.   Such declaration shall  also be

published in such other manner (as will  give

due publicity to the declaration in the area) as

may be prescribed.]



2[Explanation.-  For the purpose of clause (b),

the expression “buildings” shall not include,-  

(a) cessed  buildings  in  the  island  City  of

Mumbai as defined in clause (7) of section 2 of

the  Maharashtra  Housing  and  Area

Development  Act,  1976,  or  old  buildings

belonging to the Corporation;

(b) buildings constructed with permission of

the relevant authority at any point of time;

(c) any building in an area taken up under

the Urban Renewal Scheme.]

11.   The relevant portion of Section 12 which is as under :  

“12. Clearance order  

(1)  As  soon  as  may  be  after  the  Competent

Authority  has  declared  any  slum  area  to  be  a

clearance area, it shall make a clearance order in

relation  to  that  area,  ordering  the  demolition  of

each  of  the  buildings  specified  therein,  and

requiring each such building to be vacated within

such time as may be specified in the [clearance

2 Explanation added by Mah.11 of 2012, s. 7 (w.e.f. 19-6-2012).  



order], and shall  submit the [clearance order] to

the Administrator for confirmation.”

12. Chapter I-A was inserted by Act 4 of 1996.   Section

3A(1)  provides  for  appointment  of  Slum  Rehabilitation

Authority for such area or areas as may be specified in the

notification.  Sub-section (3) of Section 3A which deals with

the powers, duties and functions of the Slum Rehabilitation

Authority is as under:  

“  3[(3)  The  powers,  duties  and  functions  of  the Slum Rehabilitation Authority shall be –  

(a)  to  survey  and  review  existing  position regarding slum areas;  

(b) to formulate schemes for rehabilitation of slum areas;  

(c)  to  get  the  Slum  Rehabilitation  Scheme implemented;  

(d) to do all such other acts and things as may be

necessary  for  achieving  the  objects  of

rehabilitation of slums.]”

13. The  Slum  Rehabilitation  Authority  shall  prepare  or

amend the general slum rehabilitation scheme for the areas

specified in Section 3A(1) for rehabilitation or relocation of 3 (1) The State Government, or the Slum Rehabilitation Authority concerned with the previous  sanction  of  the  State  Government,  shall,  prepare  a  general  Slum Rehabilitation Scheme for the areas specified under subsection (1) of section 3A, For Rehabilitation of slums and hutment colonies in such areas.



protected occupiers and other occupiers of the buildings in

such areas in exercise of power conferred by Section 3B.

The procedure to be followed for preparation of the Slum

Rehabilitation Scheme is dealt with in Section 3B.  Section

3C  empowers  the  Chief  Executive  Officer  to  declare  any

area as Slum Rehabilitation Area after the publication of the

Slum  Rehabilitation  Scheme.   Section  3C(2)  enables  an

aggrieved  person  to  prefer  an  appeal  against  the  Slum

Rehabilitation Order to the Special Tribunal.  Section 3D of

the  Act  provides  that  on  publication  of  the  Slum

Rehabilitation Scheme under Sub-section (1) of Section 3B,

the provisions of the other Chapters of the Act shall apply to

any area declared as a Slum Rehabilitation Area subject to

the  modifications  mentioned  therein.   To  the  extent

necessary,  it  is  relevant  to  note  that  Chapter  II   stands

omitted.  Section 12 was substituted as follows insofar as it

applies to Chapter I-A  

"(1)  As  soon  as  may  be,  after  the  Chief

Executive Officer has declared any slum area to be

a  slum  rehabilitation  area,  he  shall  make  a

clearance order in relation to that area, ordering



the demolition of each of the buildings specified

therein,  and  requiring  each  such  building  to  be

vacated within such time as may be specified in

the clearance order."  

14. Section 36 of the Act is as follows:

36. Service of notice, etc.  

(1)  Every  notice,  order  or  direction  issued

under this Act shall, save as otherwise expressly

provided in this Act, be served-  

(a)  by  giving  or  tendering  the  notice,

order or direction [or] by sending it by registered

post to the person for whom it is intended; or  

(b) if such person cannot be found, by

affixing  the  notice,  order  or  direction  on  some

conspicuous part of his last known place of above

or business, or by giving or tendering the notice,

order or direction to some adult member or adult

servant of his family or by causing it to be affixed

on some conspicuous part of the building or land,

if any, to which it relates.  



(2) Where the person on whom a notice, order or

direction is to be served is minor, service upon his

guardian  or  upon  any  adult  member  or  adult

servant of his family shall  be deemed to be the

service upon the minor.  

(3)  Every notice,  order or direction,  which by or

under this Act is to be served as a public notice

order or direction or as a notice, order or direction

which  is  not  required  to  be  served  on  any

individual  therein  specified  shall,  save  as

otherwise  expressly  provided,  be  deemed  to  be

sufficiently  served if  a  copy thereof  is  affixed in

such  conspicuous  part  of  the  office  of  the

Competent Authority or in such other public place

during such period, or is published in such local

newspaper  or  in  such  other  manner,  as  the

Competent Authority may direct.  

15. Certain amendments were carried out to Chapter I-A

by Act 38 of 2018.  As the Orders under Section 3C and 3D

were passed in  2006 and 2009 and the  decisions  of  the



Tribunal and the High Court were prior to the amendment,

we proceed to  adjudicate  this  matter  by  interpreting  the

provisions of the Act as they stood prior to the amendment

made by Act 38 of 2018.   

16. The main contention of the Appellants is that 1045.50

sq.  mts.  of  land was  not  declared as  a  slum area  under

Section 4 of the Act which is  sine qua non for initiation for

proceedings  under  Chapter  I-A  of  the  Act.   There  is  no

dispute that the declared area is only to an extent of 4123

sq. mts. The entire area of 5168.50 sq. mts. was declared as

a Slum Rehabilitation Area under Section 3C which falls in

Chapter  I-A.   As  stated  above,  Section  3D  provides  that

Chapter  II  has  no  application  to  orders  passed  under

Chapter  I-A.   Section  4(1)  of  the  Act  is  in  Chapter  II.

Therefore, it is not necessary that an area should be notified

under  Section  4  as  slum area  before  proceedings  under

Chapter I-A are initiated.  Hence, we do not agree with the

Appellants  that  a  notification  under  Section  4  is  a  pre-

requisite for orders to be passed under Sections 3C and 3D

of the Act.   



17. Another submission made on behalf of the Appellants

is  that  the  Slum  Clearance  Order  dated  01.09.2009  is

vitiated as it is contrary to Section 12 of the Act.  The basis

for  the  said  argument  is  that  the  clearance  is  made  in

respect 5168.50 sq. mts. which includes 1045.50 sq. mts.

un-declared area. Section 12 as substituted by Section 3D

of the Act enables the Chief  Executive Officer to  make a

Clearance Order to a slum area after it has been declared to

be  a  Slum  Rehabilitation  Area.   The  submission  of  Mr.

Kumar, learned Senior Counsel for the Appellants is that the

words “slum area” have been defined in Section 2(ga) to

mean any area declared as such by the competent authority

under Section 4(1).   In the absence of a declaration of a

slum area  under  Section  4(1),  no  action  can  be initiated

under  Section  3D  of  the  Act.   Mr.  Divan,  learned  Senior

Counsel appearing for Respondent Nos.1 and 2 submitted

that the phrase “any slum area” in Section 12 is used in

general parlance.  He relied upon Section 2 of the Act which

starts  with  the  following  “in  this  Act  unless  the  context

otherwise requires”.   In the context of Chapter I-A of the

Act, the phrase “slum area” used in Section 12(1) cannot



have the same meaning as  found in  Section 2(ga).   The

Slum  Clearance  Order  is  passed  under  Section  3D  and

Section  12(1)  after  an  area  is  declared  as  a  Slum

Rehabilitation Area under Section 3C.  Chapter I-A is a self-

contained code dealing with Slum Rehabilitation Schemes.

The words “any slum area” in Section 12 are used in generic

sense.  Therefore, we do not accept the submission made

on behalf of the Appellants that “any slum area” in Section

12 is only that area which has been notified under Section

4(1) of the Act.  Section 4 of the Act not being applicable to

proceedings under Chapter I-A is a relevant factor to hold

that the context warrants such interpretation.   

18. The order dated 24.05.2006, passed under Section 3C

of the Act was held to be vitiated by the Tribunal due to

non-compliance of  Section  36 of  the  Act.  The manner  of

service of every notice, order or direction issued under the

Act is provided under             Section 36. A plain reading of

Section 3C of  the Act  discloses  that  the declaration of  a

Slum Rehabilitation  Area  requires  to  be  published  in  the

official gazette. The Slum Rehabilitation Order under Section

3C  shall  also  be  given  wide  publicity.  An  appeal  to  the



special Tribunal, against the Slum Rehabilitation Order, can

be  availed  by  any  aggrieved  person.  Pursuant  to  the

publication  of  the  Slum  Rehabilitation  Scheme  on

28.11.2005,  a  survey  was  conducted  by  the  Slum

Rehabilitation  Authority  to  prepare  a  list  of  eligible  slum

dwellers. It has been stated in the counter affidavit filed by

Respondent Nos. 1 & 2 that the Appellants participated in

the said survey and showed willingness to be a part of the

scheme. A list of eligible slum dwellers was published on

18.04.2006 and names of the Appellants were found in the

list  which  was  published  by  affixing  the  same  at  a

conspicuous  place  in  the  area  on  12.05.2006.  After  the

order  dated  24.05.2006  was  passed,  the  Appellants

submitted  objections  on  26.05.2006,  21.06.2006,

20.07.2006 and 07.08.2006. Thereafter, the Appellants filed

appeal  No.24  of  2014  under  Section  3C  (2)  of  the  Act,

challenging the order dated 24.05.2006 which was partially


19. There is no requirement of issuance of notice prior to

the declaration under Section 3C. The Tribunal committed

an  error  in  relying  upon  Section  36  to  hold  that  the



appellants  were  entitled  to  a  notice  before  order  dated

24.05.2006  was  passed.  Section  36  only  deals  with  the

manner in which notice issued under the Act is to be served.

No complaint of violation of principles of natural justice can

be made by the Appellants as there is no violation of the

procedure prescribed in Section 3C. That apart, the remedy

resorted to by the Appellants under Section 3C(2) resulted

in  their  favor.  There  is  no  prejudice  caused  to  the

Appellants. The complaint of the Appellants that they should

have  been  given  an  opportunity  before  the  order  dated

24.05.2006 was passed cannot be entertained.  

20. Clause  (d)  of  the  Special  Rules  and  Regulations  for

Slum Rehabilitation Scheme under the jurisdiction of Slum

Rehabilitation Authority for Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad area

is as follows:  

“D)  Definition  of  slum  and  Rehabilitation


Where  the  CEO (SRA)  is  satisfied  that  any

area is or may be a source of danger to the health,

safety or convenience of the public of that area or

of its neighbourhood, by person of the area having



inadequate  or  no  basic  amenities  or  being

insanity, squalid, overcrowded or otherwise, or the

buildings in any area used or intended to be used

for human habitation area in any respect until for

human  habitation  by  reasons  of  dilapidation,

overcrowding,  faulty  arrangement  and  design  of

such buildings, narrowness or faulty arrangement

of  streets,  lack  of  ventilation,  light  or  sanitation

facilities  or  any  combination  of  these  factors,

detrimental to the health, safety or convenience of

the pubic of that area is  defined as Slum.  This

shall form the basic parameter for declaration of

the rehabilitation area.   

Further  that any such area,  encumbered or

unencumbered, that the CEO(SRA) may require for

implementation of SRS proposal, shall be declared

as rehabilitation area.  

 21. It is clear that even encumbered area shall be declared

as  a  rehabilitation  area  provided  the  Slum Rehabilitation

Authority requires the said area for implementation of the



Scheme.  Admittedly, the disputed area of 1045.50 sq. mts.

is adjacent to the declared area and is required for effective

implementation  of  the  Scheme.   The  contention  of  the

Appellant  that  the declaration of  1045.50 sq.  mts.  under

Section 3C of the Act is in colourable exercise of power is

not acceptable. In view of the aforementioned findings, it is

not necessary to deal with other contentions.   

22. The Appeals are dismissed accordingly.   


           ..…................................J.                                                [L. NAGESWARA RAO]


                                            ..…….............................J.                                         [HEMANT GUPTA]

New Delhi, October 18,  2019.