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Final hearing of plea against BJP’s ‘illegal’ office on Dec 15

The Bombay High Court posted for final hearing on December 15 on a bunch of petitions seeking action against “illegal” structures constructed by political parties, including BJP, at Nariman Point in South Mumbai.

A bench, headed by Justice Abhay Oka, also extended till then the interim relief granted by the court in August 2013 restraining BJP and other political parties from carrying out renovation work at their offices near Nehru Garden at Nariman Point.

The petitioners’ advocate had told the court last year that despite the HC stay, BJP had carried out construction in their office premises.

BJP-Shiv Sena combine is currently ruling the state.

Two months back, the HC had expressed displeasure over Maharashtra government’s failure to take a stand on whether the changes made to a structure in South Mumbai allotted to BJP in 1978 were legal or not.

The other political party which has an office in this area is Janata Dal (S), according to the petitions.

The petitions have been filed by three residents’ associations seeking action against illegal structures constructed by political parties, including BJP, inside and near the Nehru Garden and other illegal shanties that have sprung up there.

The court had in an earlier hearing directed the state to examine if any changes were carried out by BJP, and if yes, then whether the requisite permissions were taken.

The court was informed that when the structure was allotted it was 2,686 sq ft and now it is 9,500 sq ft.

The government subsequently filed an affidavit stating that there is nothing on record of the Public Works Department to show whether or when any change was made.

The affidavit said that BJP had, on June 8, submitted an application to the General Administration and Urban Development Department seeking rectification of the allotted area in the allotment letter as there is discrepancy in the area shown in the letter and the one which was and is actually in use.

After perusing the affidavit, the high court had said that “in our order of April 16, we had directed the government to examine if any material changes were made to the area allotted. The government was expected to file affidavit on this. However, the government has not done so. It is avoiding to take any specific stand.”

The HC had also restrained the government from taking a final decision on the letter dated June 8 written by BJP.

The matter will come up for final hearing on December 15.

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