Bombay HC quashes criminal complaint against flat ownerafter 15 years
After nearly 15 years, the Bombay High Court quashed and set aside a criminal prosecution initiated against a Khar-based housing society member by the municipal corporation over allegedly using his house for commercial use.
Justice MridulaBhatkar while declaring the sentence imposed of one month imprisonment by a magistrate court in the year 2002 as illegal said, “Appreciation of the lower courts is not correct because the absence of evidence of residence shall not necessarily amount to commercial use of the said premises. A person may not be residing at a particular location but, may be using that area to study or to just rest. In such a case, regular household articles may not be found in the said premises. Therefore, it does not amount to conversion of a residential into a commercial premise.”
As per the FIR, registered by the junior engineer of the civic body, at the Khar Police Station, the allegation of using his apartment for commercial use was made against RajkumarHiranandDevnani and another person. Most of the witnesses, who were examined during the trial, were members of the society. The witnesses said that inspection of the flat revealed presence of computer tables and chairs; there were no utensils, clothes, or other household. Thus, it was being used for commercial purpose.