From Business Standard
Allahabad High Court (HC) has issued notices to the Uttar Pradesh government and leading real estate company Ansal Properties and Infrastructure Limited (API) over a case of alleged arbitrarily inflating the prices of low income group (LIG) housing units in Lucknow.
A division bench, headed by Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud, passed the order on Friday and fixed February 25 as the next date of hearing, while allowing the state government and Ansal API to file their replies in the meantime.
The HC was hearing a petition filed by Gita Devi, who had challenged the increase in prices of the LIG dwellings, while praying the same be reverted to the price levels mentioned in the original booklet of the housing scheme, when it was floated in 2013.
The petitioner’s counsel Dhruv Kumar told media the housing scheme for the LIG segment was floated by the government in October 2013 and Ansal API was authorised to build the dwelling units under two categories namely ‘Bharosa’ and ‘Aasra’ with price tags of about Rs 5.85 lakh and Rs 3.25 lakh, respectively.
However, the prices of ‘Bharosa’ and ‘Aasra’ units were arbitrarily hiked to Rs 9.51 lakh and Rs 4.04 lakh, respectively.
“The company had contended that the prices had been increased following a government order (GO) of December 5, 2013. However, we argued that this scheme had been launched prior to that and the GO applied to prospective new schemes only,” he informed.
Besides, the prices could be increased by only 5% as per the scheme booklet, while the actual increases in this case had been 60% and 25%, respectively.
Kumar is confident that the writ petition could be converted into a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) by the court as the matter not only concerned a large number of people, but indicated similar malpractices by other realtors across the state.