The Bombay High Court has slammed the Maharashtra government for its failure to fulfil the commitment to give land in Ratnagiri to a 72-year-old war widow for over four decades despite a recommendation from the then Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri.
A bench of Justices Abhay Oka and A S Chandurkar asked the Collector of Raigad to allot land to petitioner Indira Jadhav by August 4, failing which it would impose heavy costs on the authorities.
Jadhav had moved the high court seeking a direction to the government to give her the land allotted to her way back in 1971. She also sought compensation for mental agony, pain and suffering caused to her for over four decades.
“This is a fit case to award costs in six figure amount if on the next date we find that allotment of land has not been made to the petitioner,” the court said while hearing the case on July 24.
It expressed surprise over the government’s stand to seek current market rates for the land from the war widow, although it was allotted in 1971 after she gave letters of recommendation from the then Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri and Army officers.
Government pleader Molina Thakur admitted that this was a fit case for allotment of land and gave the assurance that the matter would be taken up with the Raigad Collector on the issue of the amount to be charged from the war widow.
Her lawyer Avinash Gokhale argued that the statutory right of the petitioner had been infringed, which in turn is part of ‘right to life and personal liberty’.