MUMBAI: There was no reprieve for a Mumbai-based builder over the state’s claim on a sprawling piece of land in Nahur to set up a BEST bus depot.
The Supreme Court rejected a plea by Marathon Realty seeking leave to appeal against a Bombay high court order of October 2014, that had thrown out the challenge to the state’s decision to take over the land. A division bench of Justice Madan Lokur and Justice Adarsh Goel said the developer’s special leave petition against the HC order was dismissed.
The court’s order is a huge win for the transport undertaking and its efforts to set up the bus depot in a land-starved city. The land spreads over 5,616 sqm and is located in a prime location in the suburbs. Senior advocates Harish Salve and Abhishek Manu Singhvi, counsels for the builder, had contended that the state had failed to take possession of the land before the repeal of the Urban Land Ceiling Act in 2007. Attorney General of India Mukul Rohatgi and advocate Harinder Toor, counsels for BEST, opposed the plea and pointed out that possession was handed over to the undertaking in 2006.
The state in 1982 had passed an order declaring the land owned by seven brothers as excess land under the Urban Land Ceiling Act. In 2003 a cabinet subcommittee decided to allot the land to BEST for setting up a bus depot. The petitioners had relied on an October 2004 order of the then minister of state staying the proceedings. The BEST, pointed out that the 2004 order had been subsequently cancelled by then chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh and its claims over the land was maintained.
In its order, the HC had said, “This writ petition is one more instance of how the builders and developers in Mumbai target excess vacant lands vesting in the state by virtue of the Urban Land Ceiling Act by relying on the repeal. Lands taken over by the state legally and validly before the repeal coming into force cannot revert back to the owners or those claiming to be in possession.”
Credits ET Realty