New Delhi: A leading property portal is in the line of fire after a broker posted an advertisement for the sale of a flat in Mumbai clearly mentioning that Muslims are not welcomed. The advertisement about a flat located at Dadar's Hindu Colony in Mumbai was put up on 99acres.com by broker Vishal D'Souza.
The advertisement read: "Excellent brand new 2BHK fully furnished flat with cross ventilation, natural light. Cosmopolitan society, no Muslims, with car parking on immediate sale, fifth floor interested please call".
After the advertisement came to notice a young lawyer and social activist Shehzad Poonawalla filed a petition with the National Commission for Minorities seeking action against the broker and 99acres.com.
"I would like to draw the urgent and immediate attention of the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) towards the discriminatory approach of a leading property website 99acres.com and a broker namely, Vishal D'Souza from Mumbai, wrt to access to housing by Muslims. The home in question is located at Dadar's Hindu Colony in Mumbai and was put up by broker Vishal D'souza. A screen shot of the said ad is being provided here," he said in his petition.
Claiming that the advertisement is not only discriminatory and reflects unethical standard of business, it also runs contrary to the Indian Constitution which is secular.
Poonawalla also said that such cases are increasingly coming to light where Muslims are denied houses in certain localities of Mumbai because of their religion.
99acres.com issued a statement on Thursday claiming the company was totally against discriminatory practices.
"This has reference to the posting of a classified advertisement placed by M/S Jacinta Estates for sale of a property on our website 99acres.com. The said listing contained offensive references to a religious community. Our company is totally against such discriminatory practices. At any point of time 99acres has over 4,00,000 classified listings. These are uploaded directly by advertisers on the site using our self-service online interface. The offensive text was removed from the listing by the advertiser before the matter was brought to our notice. We are in the process of investigating the matter in more detail. We are a platform or an intermediary and as per industry practice it is our responsibility to remove any illegal content from our site after it is brought to our notice. We are also examining other listings on the site for any such objectionable content. We are in the process of putting in place checks and processes to prevent the recurrence of such acts. We are deeply embarrassed that our site was misused in this manner," the statement said.