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HC raps Maha govt over allotment of land for new complex

The Bombay High Court on Thursday expressed unhappiness over the Maharashtra government’s approach in allotting land for a new high court building in the suburbs and wondered if the complex would remain a “distant dream”.

A division bench of Justices A S Oka and Riyaz Chagal made the observation while hearing a petition filed by a lawyer, Ahmed Abdi, on the issue.

The bench said the government had failed to comply with an August 2016 court order in which it was directed to demarcate an area in suburban Bandra for a high court complex, a building for lawyers and staff.

The bench noted an affidavit filed by the government on Thursday was silent on these details.

“We want exact details of how much area would be allotted for each building. The affidavit is just saying that the government has planned a modern multi-storeyed building for high court in Bandra,” Justice Oka said.

“How can a high court building be vertical and multi-storeyed? This affidavit is a complete breach of our order,” he added.

He castigated the government over its approach in dealing with the issue.

“If this is the approach of the state government then for years we (high court) will remain where it is. This new complex building appears to be a distant dream.

“Considering the affidavit it is obvious that in near future too nothing will be done by the government,” Justice Oka said.

The bench noted it was the government’s obligation to provide a plot for the proposed high court complex in the suburbs.

“The strength of judges has gone up. Where are these judges going to sit? What about lawyers and litigants?” the court asked.

The bench directed the chief secretary to look into the issue and file an affidavit, and posted the petition for further hearing on June 11.

The high court currently functions from a three-storeyed British-era building in South Mumbai.

But considering the increasing number of cases and strength of the judges, the HC administration had sought allotment of land from the government for a new complex to shift part of its work there.

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