The Bombay High Court has issued a notice to Maharashtra minister Abdul Sattar for ordering ‘regularisation’ of the possession of land reserved for public ‘gairan’ (grazing) in favour of a private person in the face of a civil court order.
There shall be an interim stay to the effect and operation of the order passed on June 17, 2022 by Sattar until further orders, the HC’s Nagpur bench said while issuing the notice on December 22.
The details were available on Saturday.
The bench was hearing a petition filed by social activist Shyam Deole and another person against the order Sattar had passed in June 2022 when he was the revenue minister.
As per the petition, a public utility land meant for grazing measuring 37 acres was ‘regularised’ in favour of a private person.
This was done even after the claim of this private person had been rejected by the civil appellate court, said the petitioner who was represented by advocate Sunil Manohar.
The HC held that prima facie (on the face of it) Sattar passed the order with knowledge that additional district judge, Washim, had disallowed the claim of the private person for continuation of his possession over the gairan land.
The Washim court had even passed stinging remarks that said private person was “certainly out to usurp the government land," the HC noted.
“Thus, we find that the issue raised in this petition, which puts a question mark over the manner in which the public utility land/gairan land is allowed to be usurped by private individuals, requires consideration by this Court.” “While issuing notice, we would direct the petitioners to deposit in this Court an amount of rupees fifty thousand to show their bona fides,” the court added.
The HC will hear the matter further on January 11, 2023.
On December 14, a Nagpur bench of the HC had ordered status quo on a decision taken by Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde when he was a minister in the previous Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government of allotment of land meant for slum dwellers to private persons.
The HC was informed by amicus curie (appointed by court to assist) advocate Anand Parchure that Shinde during his tenure as the urban development minister of the MVA government directed the Nagpur Improvement Trust to give away land acquired for housing scheme for slum dwellers to 16 private persons.
On December 22, the HC accepted the withdrawal of the order of regularisation issued by Shinde recently and observed it was treating the matter as closed.
On December 20, Shinde said as the urban development minister in 2021, he had passed an order in which he did not recommend reducing or decreasing the rate of land in question, but noted that charges should be applied for the plot as per government rules.
The CM had said when it was brought to his notice that the land allotment matter was pending in the court, he cancelled his earlier order, dated April 20, 2021, on December 16, 2022.
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