Mayura Janwalkar / DNA
Mumbai, Aug 3: Actor Aamir Ali may be a popular face on TV, but like many others finding a home in Mumbai has not been pleasurable for him — religiously speaking.
Alleging discrimination, Ali, in a PIL filed before the Bombay High Court, urged the court to direct the government and the Registrar of co-operative housing societies to desist from rejecting membership to an individual because he belongs to a particular community.
Ali in his petition said that in November, 2006 while he was looking for a flat in Lokhandwala complex in Andheri, he was impressed with a flat shown to him by his broker in Springfield Co-operative housing society. However, he was deeply aggrieved when his broker M Kukreja told him that the society would not allow him because he was a Muslim.
On Thursday, arguing on behalf of Ali, senior counsel Arif Bookwalla told the court that a judgment of the Supreme Court in a case concerning Zoroastrians, where land was allotted to the community and they had the power to deny membership to a non-Zoroastrian but in this case it was a cosmopolitan society.
“The co-operative spirit is defeated by refusing membership to Muslims,” Bookwalla said. A division bench of Chief Justice Swatanter Kumar and Justice DY Chandrachud have now asked the state government to file a reply in four weeks.
Ali, a known face on TV, plays the lead role in Woh Rehnewali Mehlon ki on Sahara One. He said in his petition that after making enquiries he found out that such treatment was meted out to other people as well.
“If the issue of denying membership to a co-operative housing society on the ground of caste, religion or creed is not curbed at the threshold, this practice will grow manifold and cities within the state will be divided without any physical division”, the PIL said. Moreover, it said it violates the directive principles of state policy and the Maharshtra Co-operative Societies Act, 1960 which does not prescribe refusal of membership on religious grounds.