The Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court has sought to know how many public utility (PU) lands were acquired by the state government in the last ten years to honour the reservations under Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning (MRTP) Act.
A division bench justices Bhushan Dharmadhikari and Indira Jain sought this information recently while hearing a petition filed by Rupesh Raghuwanshi, a resident of Akola, who was served purchase notice by the government under section 44 of MRTP Act reserving his land in Mangrulpir village in Washim district for a shopping centre.
The petitioner, desirous of developing that land, had sought permission under Section 44 of Maharashtra Land Revenue Code, 1966 but it was rejected two years ago.
The bench, while noting that large tracts of land reserved for various public purposes could not be acquired by the state government due to paucity of funds, sought details of the number of reservations which are deemed to have lapsed between 2006-2016 due to orders passed by the HC or the state government.
The judges wondered whether MRTP Act with its laudable objective has served any purpose or it has only given rise to the litigation.
The HC sought detailed affidavits from the Urban Development Secretary and the Director of Town Planning about acquisition or de-reservation of PU plots in Maharashtra in the last ten years with reasons within six weeks and to be placed before the bench hearing PILs.
During the hearing of instant case where purchase notice was confirmed by the state government, the notice period of 12 months had come to an end on June 24, 2015. There was an earlier PIL pending for such lapsing of reservations, which was disposed of on March 3, 2016 after the state government extended time to acquire land from 12 months to 24 months.
“Many lands are getting de-reserved because of the Court’s orders due to mandate of Section 127(1) or Section 49(7) of MRTP Act,” the high court noted while lamenting that for want of funds, the lands could not be acquired and therefore, the society was deprived of having open spaces or garden or other reservation for public utility.
“Due to this, the laudable purpose of MRTP Act itself will stand defeated,” the High Court noted.
( Source – PTI )