Observing that enough time had been given to Maharashtra government to consider a proposal to amend the Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) scheme in Thane, the Bombay High Court has refused to grant the state three months time to take a policy decision on the issue.
However, the court granted a short time to the state till August 14 to comply with its earlier orders by taking a policy decision on a proposal forwarded to it by the Thane Municipal Corporation which envisages removal of technical hitches to ensure smooth implementation of the SRA scheme.
The court noted that despite its earlier orders, the government had not taken decision on the issue for over a year and now it wanted three months more time to carry out the proposed amendment.
“In the face of the orders of this court which we have quoted above, it is not possible to accept the request of the State Government to extend the time for a period of three months,” said a bench of justices Abhay Oka and A S Chandurkar in a recent order.
The court warned that if the state did not take a policy decision on the issue by August 14, it would take up for hearing on August 19 a contempt petition filed by slum dwellers in Thane, who had challenged the SRA scheme and urged modification by the government to remove technical hitches.
Until then, the hearing on the contempt petition will be kept pending, the judges noted.
The state had filed an application on June 13 seeking three months time to take a policy decision to consider the proposal for modification of SRA scheme.
Counsel for the petitioners opposed the application on the ground that such conduct on the part of the state Government makes a mockery of the court orders.
The petitioners argued that there is every likelihood of ‘code of conduct’ being applied in near future on account of the forthcoming state assembly elections. It was also pointed out that they had also filed a contempt petition against the state.