Mumbai: A court case lodged by the BMC caused Saba Khan to leave her home a week before her SSC exam. However, considering her outstanding results, the High Court last week permitted the family to return to their home and stay there till a lower court decides the case.

Fifteen-year-old Saba Khan was thrown out of her home just a week before she was set to appear for her important SSC exams. Not one to give up, the plucky teenager soldiered on, borrowing books from her friends to continue preparing for the exam. With no roof over her head, she read for hours under the blazing sun.

Months later, the tide has finally turned for Saba, who is reaping the happy fruits of her perseverance. Not only has she passed the exam with an enviable score of 87 per cent, a court order has also restored her family to their home. The Bombay High Court last week permitted the Khans to continue staying at the tenanted property that the BMC had ousted them from.

Legal tussle
On December 26, 2011, the family received a notice asking them to vacate their home, which is a tenanted premise belonging to the BMC. Lalmohamad Nawasali Khan (50), Saba’s father, appealed against eviction proceedings initiated against his family by the BMC’s Estate Officer in the City Civil Court. The family suffered a second blow when their lawyers failed to show up at the court on a day of the hearing. Their petition was dismissed.

Though the lawyers moved an application to have the matter restored, that too was rejected on February 28 this year. While the application was pending, the BMC and police showed up at Khan’s doorstep to evict him, his wife and five children. They then sealed the house.
Advocates Sanjiv Sawant and Abhishek Deshmukh, appearing on behalf of the family in the Bombay High Court, argued that the BMC’s actions were ‘high-handed’. Justice Jamdar noted in his order that the lower court ought to have imposed costs, instead of rejecting the application outright, a move that deprived Khan of his right to appeal – and ousted him from his home for the last 35 years.

No books
With barely a week to go for her exams, High Court had directed the civic body to allow the reasonable request of providing Saba access to the house, so she could retrieve her textbooks. Last week, the court decided that considering the equities of the case, BMC could not be allowed to dispossess Khan’s family or prevent them from living in their home. Saba said, “Despite the court’s order, they did not open the locks to allow me to get my books. I had to borrow books from my friends to study. There was no place to study, and I would have to sit right under the sun. But I scored 87.64 per cent in my exams.”

While the family have won this battle, new ones may be in store for them. If they lose the case before the City Civil Court, he and his family will have to leave. The court observed, “The occupation of the petitioner in the premises is granted by considering the equalities of the case and is not a reflection on the merits of the case of the petitioner in appeal. Unless contrary order is passed by any court, the petitioner will vacate the premises in his possession within a period of four weeks from the date of the order passed by the City Civil Court, if the said order is against the petitioner.”  

Courtesy: Mid-day

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