Stop construction within 500 metres of Taloja jail: Bombay HC
The Bombay High Court on Thursday directed the Maharashtra government to stop ongoing construction within 500 metres of the outer wall of Taloja jail in neighbouring Navi Mumbai in keeping with a new policy.
Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Thursday directed the Maharashtra government to stop ongoing construction within 500 metres of the outer wall of Taloja jail in neighbouring Navi Mumbai in keeping with a new policy.
The court asked the superintendent of Taloja jail, Revenue Department and town planning authority CIDCO to survey under-construction buildings within 500 metres of the jail within three weeks, and submit a report to the government.
"State shall (then) proceed to stop the construction of buildings immediately," said the division bench headed by Justice P V Hardas, hearing a petition filed by prison inmate and former army officer Ramesh Upadhyay, an accused in the September 2008 Malegaon bomb blasts case.
Adjourning the matter to January 13, HC also asked the state government to file a compliance report.
G S Hegde, CIDCO`s lawyer, argued that the policy should be made prospective (not applicable to ongoing constructions), otherwise there would be a flood of petitions challenging the policy. However, the court said this issue could be considered later.
On December 4, the state home department came out with the policy that constructions within 500 metres of jails would be stopped. Earlier, the court had asked the government to inform what security measures it proposed to take inside and around Arthur Road jail in Mumbai and Taloja jail.
The court also asked the Principal Secretaries of Home, Urban Development and Law and Judiciary departments to devise plan for allowing real estate development around the jails in such a manner that safety of jail inmates was not compromised.
Upadhyay had written a letter to the court raising concerns about existing and under-construction high-rises near the jail. It was converted into a petition and advocate Shubdha Khot was appointed amicus curie (friend of the court) to assist in the matter.
The court had suggested earlier that experts should be roped in to help civic bodies with planning the development around the jails.
There should be buffer zones around the jails, the HC had suggested. The government then appointed a committee which recommended certain measures to ensure security in and around prisons, taking into account the security implications of high-rise constructions.