THE ALLAHABAD High Court on Thursday directed the Uttar Pradesh government not to interfere in the functioning of a vocational training centre run by the Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust in Amethi. The Lucknow bench of the High Court issued the directions on a writ petition of a self-help group — Vikas Block Mahila Samuh. The division bench of Justice S N Shukla and Justice S K Singh directed the state government to file a response against the petition and fixed the second week of July for the next hearing.
Union Textiles Minister Smriti Irani had earlier alleged that the land in Jais in Amethi, where the centre is being run, has been grabbed by the Trust. Irani, who had unsuccessfully contested from Amethi Lok Sabha seat against Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi in 2014, had alleged that the land was meant for a college.
On April 22, the sub-divisional magistrate of Tiloi in Amethi had issued a notice to the Trust. The petitioner had objected to the notice, in which the sub-divisional magistrate had asked the petitioner to state under what authority was the centre being run under the Rajiv Gandhi Women Development Programme at that place, which is a government land as recorded in revenue records.
The petitioner’s counsel, C B Pandey, argued that although the land is recorded as government land, it is specified that the same would be used for vocational training.
Considering that the place in question was earmarked for vocational training, the bench, in an interim direction, restrained the state authorities from disturbing the running of the centre. Congress spokesman Randeep Surjewala termed it as “a big victory for the women of Amethi”.
“This has effectively stalled the UP government’s efforts to close down the centre at the behest of Smriti Irani and the BJP’s political manoeuvres,” he alleged. “Such efforts will only end up destroying the livelihood of lakhs of innocent women of Amethi and UP who have benefited from the training.”
He said that the land for the centre was allotted by the government over three decades ago to Manuj Kalyan Kendra (MKK), a not-for-profit organisation, for vocational training purposes. RGMVP is merely a programme conducting the training, he added.