HC upset over allotment of land for new premises

State says not viable to provide land for advocates’ chambers

The Bombay High Court on Wednesday expressed dismay over the State government’s conduct in allotting land for the construction of new High Court premises in Bandra.

A Division Bench of Justices Abhay Oka and Riyaz Chagla was hearing a public interest litigation filed by Advocate Ahmed Abdi pertaining to the proposed HC building in Bandra.

An affidavit submitted to the court said the government had not allotted land for construction of advocates’ chambers. The counsel appearing for the government said it was not financially viable to do so.

Justice Oka, asked, “How can the High Court be shifted to Bandra without land being allotted for [a place for] advocates to work in?”

The State has allotted approximately 6 lakh sq.ft. for the entire court, though it had initially proposed to provide around 26 lakh sq.ft.

Justice Oka said, “So this means that the new High Court will be 13 stories high? This is absurd! The government cannot decide the way the new High Court is constructed while sitting in Mantralaya. Their job is merely to allot the plot and provide appropriate finances.”

The Bench refrained from issuing contempt proceedings against the government, and directed the counsel to ask the Chief Secretary to reconsider the current allotment of land. “We are giving an opportunity to the newly appointed Chief Secretary to not start his career with a contempt notice. Ask him to withdraw this affidavit and submit a new plan to the court,” said Justice Oka.

Ultimately, the State withdrew the affidavit. The court has directed the State to file a revised plan by July 10. The final hearing will take place on July 20.

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Printable version | Mar 28, 2020 2:51:46 PM |

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