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HC rejects Adarsh Society’s plea opposing title suit by MoD

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The Bombay High Court on Friday rejected an application made by scam-tainted Adarsh Housing Society opposing the title suit filed by Ministry of Defence claiming ownership on the land in South Mumbai. The Ministry in December 2012 had filed a title suit in the High Court stating that the land in Colaba where the 31-storey Adarsh building is constructed belongs to them (Defence Ministry) and possession should be handed back to them.

The Defence Ministry alleged that the Adarsh building has been constructed “illegally and unlawfully”. It also states that MoD is the sole owner of the land and that the land was transferred to Adarsh Society by fraud, collusion and connivance on the part of the society members, ministers and bureaucrats of the state government.
The Society had, however, filed an application opposing the title suit on the ground that only the Defence Estate Officer (DEO) can file title suits on behalf of the Defence Ministry. It relied on an order passed by the General Governor Council and the Government of India in 1930.

“The Society also relied on the military land manual which says that only the defence estate officer is authorised to file and conduct a title suit in court on behalf of the Ministry of Defence,” the Society’s lawyer Saket Mone from Vidhi law firm argued.

The Defence Ministry refuted the argument and said that the ministry is empowered to file and conduct title suits. Justice Roshan Dalvi on Friday heard arguments from both sides and rejected the Society’s application.

Meanwhile, in a related development, a division bench of Justices PV Hardas and A S Gadkari refused to hear a public interest litigation filed by former journalist Ketan Tirodkar alleging that CBI has failed to arraign as accused family members of several politicians who own flats in the society under benami names.

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