A public interest litigation (PIL) opposing the state government’s decision to bifurcate Thane district and create a new district, with its headquarters at Palghar, was disposed of by the Bombay High Court Tuesday.
The PIL, filed by local political leaders and social activists, had sought “quashing and setting aside the said political decision of the government”.
Thirty-five people, including CPI(M) MLA Raja Nathu Ozare (from Jawhar), NCP state unit secretary Rajaram Mukne, ex-MLA and MP from CPI(M) Lahanu Shidwa Kom, Vikramgadh BJP president Sudhakar Patil and Adiwasi Ekta Parishad president Kaluram Dodhade, had filed the PIL against the creation of the new district, which was done last year. The petitioners were represented by V A Gangal.
Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice B P Colabawala, however, allowed the petitioners to make a representation to the government with regards to not moving the additional collector’s post from Jawhar taluka to Palghar, so that tribals benefiting from government schemes are not affected by this move. The court also asked the state government to consider the representation made in the petition.
The post of additional collector was created according to a Government Resolution issued in 1993, but after the bifurcation, while the post remained, the officers were moved to Palghar.
“The decision to have proposed headquarters at Palghar is discriminatory and violative of fundamental rights, guaranteed under Articles 14 and 19 of the Constitution for tribal and backward class people of the region. Having a headquarter of a district more than 150-200 km from most of the predominantly tribal areas of the proposed district Palghar is a negation of the right to live and right to have a dignified life as guaranteed by Article 21 of the Constitution of India,” the PIL had alleged.
On August 1, 2014, the state government announced the formation of the 36th district of Maharashtra (Palghar district), which was carved out of the Thane district. Meanwhile, the government defended its stand by stating that more land was available for building staff quarters and other infrastructure in Palghar.