Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Will allot 30.16 acres land in Bandra for new Bombay High Court building: Maharashtra government tells HC

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The government of Maharashtra on Thursday apprised the Bombay High Court that it would allot 30.16 acres of land in Bandra for the construction of a new building for the High Court.

The announcement was made by Advocate General Dr. Birendra Saraf before the Division Bench of Acting Chief Justice S.V. Gangapurwala and Justice Sandeep Marne, while they were hearing a plea seeking contempt of court action against the state government for non-compliance with a 2019 High Court order on land allotment.

The AG apprised the High Court that the land at Bandra East was currently reserved for government employee housing by the Public Works Department (PWD).

However, PWD has now granted its consent to give up that land for building the new High Court complex. A memorandum has been signed with the department to that effect, he added.

A formal government resolution (GR) to that effect would be issued shortly, revealed the AG.

He said the land would have central tribunals as well as chambers for lawyers, (8.9 acres) along with the High Court building (21 acres), which would also include judge’s quarters.

The AG further apprised the High Court that the state government would require some time to change the reservation to commercial complex, since it was currently reserved for government housing in the city development land.

Once it is done, the state would proceed to issue the GR, he added.

Petitioner Ahmed Abdi had contended that the contempt petition has remained pending for the past six years and the State has not taken any action yet.

As per the petitioner, the State was in contempt of the order passed by the High Court in January 2019 in the public interest litigation (PIL) filed by him in 2012, seeking a new building for the High Court on a priority basis.

In its January 2019 order, the High Court had directed the state government to take a decision on offering a large and convenient plot of land for construction of a new complex for the High Court.

Abdi said that after the order of January 2019, the High Court directed the file to be consigned to the record room and the Court was in touch with the executive to identify additional space.

Since the 2019 order, the State government has completely failed and deliberately ‘ignored’ to take steps towards the order, he added.

During its hearing on March 9, the High Court had asked the State to take a decision on the land allotment soon.

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