‘Land allotment to judges' society’
Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Wednesday reserved judgement on a public interest litigation challenging the allotment of land to two housing societies of judges here.
The PIL, filed by activist Nitin Deshpande, alleges that state government showed undue favours while allotting the land to Siddhant and Nyay Sagar societies in Bandra, meant for retired and sitting judges of the higher judiciary.
It alleges that earlier reservations of the land were changed. The Nyay Sagar plot was meant to rehabilitate the 'dishoused persons' while Siddhant plot was reserved for a subordinate court building and staff quarters.
Deshpande's lawyer advocate Amit Karande argued that under Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning Act, government should have sought objections from the public before allotting the land.
"It first allotted the land and then invited objections through the newspapers which were not widely circulated," said Karande.
Advocate General Darius Khambata, representing the state, said legal process was followed in the allotment. "The Letter of Allotment was subject to dereservation of the land," Khambata argued.
He also asked why Deshpande singled out these two societies. "Some portion of the 10,000 square meters land has been alloted to two other societies -- Renuka and Sindhuratna -- to house bureaucrats and civil servants. Why is he not challenging that?" Khambata said.
The division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice R V More reserved the judgement as arguments ended.
According to the petition, on August 12, 2002, Justice F I Rebelllo, the chief promoter of Nyay Sagar Society, wrote to the (then) Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, seeking government land for the society.
"On March 16, 2004, the secretary of Revenue Department wrote to the Collector in respect of changing the reservation for the plot marked for dishoused persons," it adds.