May 14, 2022 1:08:56 am
The Supreme Court Friday ordered “status quo” as on date in an appeal against the Gujarat High Court decision to dismiss public interest litigation that challenged the allotment of land reserved for a playground in Ahmedabad in the original town planning scheme of 1954 from being diverted for construction instead.
Dismissing the PIL in March, the HC order had also granted the respondent, Gujarat Housing Board (GHB), permission to use 10,508 square metres of open land for construction.
On Friday, a division bench of Justices SA Nazeer and Krishna Murari also issued a notice to the respondents including GHB, the state of Gujarat, the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation and Rhythm Infrastructure Ltd and further directed that, in the meantime, status quo in terms of how the plot of land exists as on date be maintained by the parties.
The direction pertains to an appeal by Bapunagar Hit Rakshak Samiti that submitted that the land in question was undisputedly reserved for the purposes of a playground and was being used as such for more than 60 years. The appellant organisation have pointed out in their plea before the SC that the authorities could not have altered the category of reservation of the land while the matter was subjudice before the Gujarat HC in 2015. However, the GHB argued that it had “mistakenly” earmarked the land as a playground, which was rectified in 2015.
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The appellant submitted that the respondent authorities have “illegally changed the nature of reservation” while the matter was pending before the HC. It further submitted that the Gujarat HC has erred in “permitting the respondents to take benefit of such illegal notification”.
The appeal before the SC also noted that the HC also erred in not appreciating that the respondents themselves had, in an earlier petition, stated that the land was reserved under the town planning schemes for playgrounds and hence, “there is no question of any mistake, as is now being projected by the respondents.”
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