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HC raps Rashtrabhasha Sabha over land rule violations

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The Bombay High Court has come down heavily on the Maharashtra Rashtrabhasha Sabha for several violations, and directed the Nagpur Improvement Trust (NIT) to recover additional premium and ground rent for extra FSI granted for prime government land.

The court has also directed the State government to probe the role of present and ex-officers and elected representatives of the Hindi-promoting body and to immediately initiate appropriate civil or criminal proceedings against those found to have caused wrongful loss to the state or wrongful gain to any individual.

The HC allowed a public interest litigation (PIL), filed by Citizens Forum for Equality through its president Madhukar Kukde, alleging abuse of procedure, illegal allotment of land and its commercial misuse leading to revenue loss of Rs. 100 crore. The court directed the State government and NIT to conduct an inquiry as to how commercial buildings were permitted without change of user.

A division bench of Justices B P Dharmadhikari and Indira Jain pronounced the order on Wednesday.

The High Court also criticised the NIT for determining ground rent as per the 1961 rate and quashed the order dated August 11, 2005. It also directed the NIT to determine fresh ground rent for the lease period from February 21, 1991, to March 31, 2021, and to recover additional premium from the Rashtrabhasha Sabha for extra FSI, as per Rule 8 (2) of the Land Disposal Rules with effect from February 2, 2004, till March 31, 2021, within three months.

The Rashtrabhasha Sabha has been directed to pay current premium and ground rent within two months of its computation. Arrears are to be recovered in 12 equal bi-monthly instalments.

The HC has also directed a local court to decide the pending civil suit related to the alleged unauthorised construction by the Rashtrabhasha Sabha and demolition notice issued by Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC), within one year.

The NMC, NIT and the Urban Development Department have been directed to study the documents and examine whether any right over undivided share was conferred upon any of the occupants, including Wockhardt Hospital.

The HC has also directed Joint Charity Commissioner, Nagpur, to verify whether the annual budget and audited accounts were presented before the competent authority, whether the accounts reflected additional income, for which commercial use was permitted, and if such additional income was used for the purpose for which the land was originally allotted.

The petitioner alleged that government land was allotted to the Pune-headquartered Maharashtra Rashtrabhasha Sabha for the promotion of Hindi language by NIT only for Rs . 30 lakh, bypassing mandatory provisions of the Land Disposal Rules, 1986, to auction the land.

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Printable version | Dec 11, 2019 7:13:52 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/news/HC-raps-Rashtrabhasha-Sabha-over-land-rule-violations/article14628909.ece

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