The court was hearing a 14-year-old case filed by Jagjitsingh Saddal and others, contending they were not allowed to construct anything on their plot as it was reserved for playground and primary school. A division bench comprising justices Sunil Shukre and Anil Kilor said the issues thrown open for consideration by this petition are of “very serious nature”.
“These issues cry for resolution in the best interest of Nagpur residents or in other words, in the larger public interest. We would like to consider this matter further, especially from the point of view of ordering an enquiry into illegalities committed by planning authorities and their officers,” the judges warned.
Pointing out various orders passed by the HC, the bench said all those broadly point towards illegalities of grave nature committed by Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) and Nagpur Improvement Trust (NIT) officials.
“This is the reason Anilkumar was already appointed amicus curiae. Before a detailed order is passed, it would be necessary that the entire petition record is produced before us. We direct NIT and NMC to remit entire record and proceedings related to auction of plots, granting sanction to development of leased plots and everything that pertains to development plans (DP)reservation for the petitioners’ plots by next hearing.”
Before adjourning the hearing till 2 pm on September 9, the justices directed NMC commissioner and NIT chairman to personally look into the case and ensure that entire record and proceedings of DP reservation of petitioner’s plots are submitted before that and any failure would be viewed seriously.
“One of the illegalities, which has been prima facie found to have been committed consistently over a long period of time, is of leasing out lands reserved for specific public purpose such as open spaces and play-grounds, for private use. In HC’s earlier order of July 7, 2018, it was observed that since 1987, instead of curbing illegal layouts and developments, under the guise of policy decisions, the layouts and encroachments are being legalized at the cost of general public.”
Quoting its order of October 31, 2018, the judges lamented that while a law-abiding citizen is required to pay huge amount for purchasing a legal plot, the reserved or PU land or playground in vicinity is made available illegally by the planning authorities or is allowed to be encroached upon only to be regularised by accepting regularisation or compounding charges by these authorities.
“Today, the situation is that after having brazenly leased out portions of the land under reservation, which form part of petitioner’s plots, NIT has sent a proposal on October 21, 2015, to the state regarding deletion of reservation in order that the illegalities committed are pushed under the carpet and a cloak of legality is created by so-called regularisation of the illegalities,” the HC said.