The Bombay High Court Wednesday asked the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) to make its stand clear on what it planned to do with the six empty plots adjoining the Mayor’s bungalow in the area which belongs to City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO).
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Questioning the civic body’s right to attach such plots near the Mayor’s bungalow, Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice Sonak said, “You are supposed to check others and not carry out encroachments on your own.” The court added, “We are not sitting in a panchayat under a banyan tree. This is a court. If you have any issues, point it out otherwise tell us what you want to do.”
The bench was hearing a public interest litigation seeking action against the NMMC for allegedly encroaching upon the plots and developing them into a garden. The garden has a compound wall and only the Mayor’s bungalow on top of Parsik hill has access to it.
While NMMC had wanted these plots to be allotted to it after changing their use from residential to public garden, CIDCO had rejected this request.
CIDCO stated that handing over such plots would affect their financial stability as they made money from the sale of such plots. Moreover, public gardens have been provided under the development plan in the surrounding areas.
“In absence of any allotment by CIDCO, the corporation has no authority to make it into a garden. If their intent is to keep it as public garden what happens to the security of the Mayor’s bungalow? NMMC has to take a call and file a fresh affidavit,” said the High Court. The bench further said that if the corporation intended to make it into a garden, either public or private, they would have to purchase it from CIDCO and make its stand clear within three weeks. If they are unable to purchase it, they will have to return the plot. “Make a swimming pool there if you want but pay for it,” said the court.
“What is the land required for safety of the Mayor’s bungalow. A safety audit should be carried out by an intelligence agency to ascertain the same,” added the court.