Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Supreme Court dismisses plea challenging renaming of Aurangabad to Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar

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The Supreme Court on Friday rejected a petition that challeged the renaming of Aurangabad city to ‘Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar’ on the grounds that the Bombay High Court was seized of the matter. 

The Bench of Chief Justice of India (CJI) D.Y. Chandrachud, Justice P.S. Narasimha and Justice J.B. Pardiwala refused to entertain the plea after Senior Advocate Birendra Saraf, appearing for the State of Maharashtra, apprised the court that the matter was listed before the Bombay High Court on March 27, 2023.

Appearing for the petitioner, Advocate Fuzail Ayyubi requested the Apex Court to take up the matter on Monday, since Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal was appearing in the case now. 

The CJI refused to hear the petition, stating that since the High Court was seized of the matter, the petitioner should appear before it.

The plea challenged the approval granted by the Union of India and the State of Maharashtra to a letter of the Divisional Commissioner, Aurangabad dated March 4, 2020, which proposed changing the name of Aurangabad city to ‘Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar’.

It said the petitioner had challenged a similar attempt of renaming Aurangabad in 1996. The matter had then also reached the Supreme Court, which had ordered status quo.

However, the notification was later withdrawn by the state government and thus, the matter became infructuous.

The plea contended that the present attempt to rename the city was again challenged through a PIL which was pending in the High Court of Bombay. However, ignoring the pendency of the petition, the Union of India granted approval to the proposed change in the name of city on February 24 this year.

It said the State of Maharashtra also issued notification on the same day, officially changing the name of City Aurangabad, Taluka and District – Aurangabad, Maharashtra to Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar Taluka and District – Aurangabad, Maharashtra.

The state government further issued a notification on February 24 under the Maharashtra Land Revenue Code, 1966, calling for objections to draft notification renaming the revenue divisions of Aurangabad to Sambhajinagar, it added.

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