The Supreme Court on Monday issued a notice in an appeal against the Bombay High Court judgment which had refused to interfere or pass any order in the PIL seeking to declare as “illegal, arbitrary,” the special permission granted in 2002 to Lake City Corporation for purchasing lands for private hill station Lavasa in Pune district.
A division bench of the high court headed by Chief Justice Dipankar Datta in its February 26 judgment had said that the ‘judicial hands-off’ approach is best suited in the present case due to ‘gross delay’ in filing of PIL.
The court, though, observed ‘personal interest’ and ‘exertion of influence and clout’ by NCP chief Sharad Pawar and his daughter Supriya Sule in the impugned project. It had upheld the validity of amendment to Bombay Tenancy and Agricultural Lands (BTAL) Act by which retrospective permissions were given to the said project. The bench said that NCP leader Ajit Pawar, who was irrigation minister and ex-officio chairman of Maharashtra Krishna Valley Development Corporation (MKVDC), “failed to disclose the direct or indirect interest and was found to be remiss in his duty only to that extent.”
An apex court bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud and A S Bopanna on Monday issued notice in an appeal filed by lawyer Nanasaheb Jadhav, who had sought before the HC that the special permission to the project be declared as inconsistent with the Bombay Tenancy and Agricultural Lands (BTAL) Act, adding that the hill station was being developed “purely on commercial basis.”
In a Special Leave Petition (SLP) filed before the apex court last month, Jadhav said that the farmers have been subjected to “continuous injustice” since the lands of 18 villages notified as hill stations were sold at “paltry sums” to the Lake City Corporation in 2002.