Clearing the way for the construction of an international airport in Navi Mumbai,the Bombay High Court on Thursday allowed City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO) to transfer a 157-acre tract of land in Panvel to the Airports Authority of India (AAI).
Ruling in CIDCOs favour,Justice D K Deshmukh said it was clear from the documentary evidence presented before the court that the land had been in the possession of the authority for several years. The judge,however,did not decide on the ownership of the land,ruling that if the Bivalkar family who claimed that they owned the land in questionwas found to be the owners,they would be entitled to appropriate compensation.
Earlier,arguing for the state government,Advocate General Ravi Kadam said that an earlier statement made in 2005 by a government pleader was incorrect and prayed that it be withdrawn. The statement was to the effect that the family owns the land. According to Kadam,the lawyer had said this without obtaining appropriate information from the revenue department and had only sought instructions from the forest department.
The court subsequently concurred with Kadams view and said,Prima facie,it appears that the government lawyers statement was incorrect. As the government had transferred the land to CIDCO in the 1960s,it does not have the authority to make a statement about the ownership of land.
The Maharashtra government claimed that the land was acquired and later handed over to CIDCO in 1973. It further contended that it got ownership of the land after the enactment of the Inam Abolition Act,1973. Through the act,the system of feudal land holding was abolished.