THE BOMBAY High Court has directed that status quo be maintained on the order passed by the city collector directing the Haji Ali Dargah Trust to deposit Rs 1.88 crore. The collector had on May 4 sought the deposit within 20 days, claiming its share from the income generated by allowing mobile towers on the dargah premises. The vacation bench of Justice P D Naik and Justice M S Karnik on Wednesday heard a petition filed by Trust member Abdul Sattar Merchant, challenging the collector’s order.
The court directed that status quo be maintained till the matter is heard before the regular court on June 15. According to the trust, it had obtained the land from the collector on lease. The trust has claimed that there was no restriction placed on the user from letting out any part of the leased land when it became a lessee in 1920-21, and additionally leased more land in subsequent years in 1940 and 1951.
Four cellular companies were then given a portion of the land to set up mobile towers on leave and licence basis. The collector’s order passed on March 21 seeks 50 per cent of the income generated from the companies, based on a notification in 2005 on income generated from leasehold land to societies.
The trust argued that the notification does not apply to religious, charitable and non-profit institutions like them.