The Bombay High Court today expressed displeasure over Maharashtra government’s failure to take a stand on whether the changes made to a structure in south Mumbai allotted to political party BJP in 1978, were legal or not.
A division bench of justices A S Oka and Revati Mohite Dere was hearing petitions filed by three residents’ associations seeking action against illegal structures constructed by political parties, including BJP, inside and near the Nehru Garden and other illegal shanties that have sprung up there.
The court had on the last hearing, directed the state to examine if any changes were carried out by BJP, and if so, then whether the requisite permissions were taken.
The government today filed an affidavit stating that there is nothing on record of the Public Works Department to show whether or when any change was made.
The affidavit, however, states that BJP on June 8 submitted an application to the General Administration and Urban Development Department seeking rectification of the allotted area in the allotment letter as there is discrepancy in the area shown in the letter and the one which was and is actually in use.
After perusing the affidavit, the high court said, “In our order of April 16, we had directed the government to examine if any material changes were made to the area allotted. The government was today expected to file affidavit in respect to this. However, the government has not done so. The government is avoiding to take any specific stand.”
“Pending hearing of this petition, we restrain the government to take any final decision on the letter dated June 8 written by BJP,” the court directed while posting the petition for hearing on September 7.
In August 2013, the high court had restrained BJP and all other political parties which have their offices there to not carry out any renovation work. However, last year, the petitioners’ advocate told the court that despite the stay BJP had carried out construction in their office premises.
The court was informed that when the structure was allotted it was 2,686 sq ft and now it is 9,500 sq ft.