The Bombay High Court has ordered formation of a joint task force comprising Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai and the Collector to remove illegal encroachments on the approach road leading to Haji Ali Dargah. “The joint task force, with the help of jurisdictional police, shall remove the encroachment on the approach road to Haji Ali Dargah within three months, strictly in accordance with the procedure laid down,” said a bench of Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice Girish Kulkarni in a recent order.
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The court was hearing a petition filed by Sahayak, a socio-legal and educational forum which sought immediate removal of the encroachments on the approach road to Haji Ali which is in the sea. The Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai was of the view that the land on the approach road to Haji Ali falls in the Collector’s jurisdiction and therefore the Collector should remove the encroachments.
The Collector took a stand that the approach road fell within the jurisdiction of the civic body and that it should remove the encroachments. Although both the authorities agreed that there were illegal encroachments on the approach road, none of them took any action against these unauthorised structures. However, they continued to blame each other for the same.
The judges noted, “the correspondence shows that both the civic body as well as the Collector had made each other responsible for removal of the encroachments. However, we are of the opinion that police help would also be required to remove the encroachments on the approach road leading to the Dargah.
“The total area may be within the control of Collector since portion of seawater, land is involved, however, the adjacent portion, ie from the road boundary, it would come within the jurisdiction of the respondent Corporation”. The judges then constituted a joint task force of the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai and Collector to remove the encroachments within three months.