The Bombay High Court on Tuesday dismissed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking a probe against Minister of State for Home and Urban Development, Ranjit Patil, for allegedly misusing his office to protect an unauthorised food court in the Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC) in the city.
A division bench headed by Justice B R Gavai said the relief sought in the PIL filed by activist Pravin Wategaonkar was “untenable”.
According to the petition, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) had leased the space in BKC to the company for a food court. The development authority, however, found that the company had carried out unauthorised construction in the area and in May last year, issued a demolition notice to the company.
Although the company agreed to carry out the demolition on its own, in August 2016, it approached Patil requesting that the demolition order be stayed and Patil then granted the stay immediately, Wategaonkar’s petition claimed. “The petition has made wild allegations. We will have to draw conclusions on the basis of conjectures without material being placed on record. There is not even a whisper that the minster tried to enrich himself at the cost of the public exchequer. If we entertain such allegations and direct an FIR to be filed in the matter, it will open a floodgate where the public will start approaching the court for registering FIRs against politicians and bureaucrats,” said Justice Gavai.
The court said that at most it could be construed that the minster passed orders without jurisdiction. But it was not enough to go ahead and consider the prayers in the petition for registering an FIR against Patil.
The bench also rejected the allegation that the chief minister’s Additional Chief Secretary, Pravin Pardeshi, had any role in the matter merely on the basis of the fact that his brother-in-law was the director of the company that had set up the food court in BKC.