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Madhya Pradesh HC dismisses PIL for retaining greenery, says its against unauthorized construction

The Madhya Pradesh High Court recently dismissed a PIL which alleged that the municipal corporation is attempting to remove vegetation while observing that a PIL cannot be maintained in the guise of trying to save vegetation where in fact there are unauthorized construction.

The case of the petitioners is that there is certain vegetation in the area in question, namely a belt consisting of 20 feet width and 1000 feet in length in front of the houses of residents. The corporation is attempting to remove the vegetation, as a consequence whereof notices for removing of unauthorized construction have been issued on various persons under Section 307 of Municipal Corporation Act, 1956. Thereafter, the PIL is filed to direct the respondents not to remove the vegetation, green passage etc.

On hearing the counsels, the Division Bench of Chief Justice Ravi Malimath and Justice Pranay Verma did not find any merit in the petition nor “any public interest that is involved”.

The Court observed that individual notices have been issued by the Corporation under Section 307 of the Municipal Corporation Act, 1956 for removal of unauthorized construction. Therefore, in the view of the Corporation, they are unauthorized constructions. Assuming it is true, then a PIL cannot be maintained in the guise of trying to save vegetation where in fact there are mainly cases of unauthorized construction.

Either way, the Court held that it cannot be said that the respondents are doing anything illegal. The actions of the respondents are purely in accordance with the provisions of the Act and if at all individual land owners are aggrieved by the same, they have a remedy to question it in terms of the provisions of the Act. To bypass all these remedies under the guise of a Public Interest Litigation, in view of the High Court may not be appropriate.

“There is no public interest involved therein. It is all the individual interest of the parties. Hence, we do not find any ground to proceed further. Petition is dismissed,” the order reads.

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