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HC tells Lata Mangeshkar to reply to charge that she violated rules

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The Bombay High Court asked singer Lata Mangeshkar to file rejoinder to a Maharashtra government affidavit alleging that she had violated conditions imposed by authorities to regularise her scheme for reserving houses for people below poverty line on her land in Kolhapur. Mangeshkar denied allegations that she had violated conditions as stated by government, following which the court asked her to file a rejoinder within a fortnight.

The matter has been posted for hearing after two weeks before a bench headed by Justice Abhay Oka. The court was hearing a petition filed by Mangeshkar challenging a notice issued to her on January 4 this year by a state body, saying that she had to obtain permission before selling immovable property on her land at Kolhapur. The government said in an affidavit that the time limit to implement the housing scheme proposed by the singer was to end on July 2011.
At her request, the state extended the time frame to October 2014. However, while extending the time limit, the state said that it had also penalised Mangeshkar by asking her to pay Rs 5 per square foot per year, from 2011 to 2014, on the underdeveloped land, but she chose not to pay, thus violating the condition. Her lawyer argued today that she had refused to comply with conditions since they were “unreasonable”.
He denied that the singer had “violated” them as alleged by the state. Thereupon, the court asked the lawyer to file a rejoinder within two weeks. The singer has sought quashing and setting aside the January 4 notice issued by the Competent Authority under the Urban Land Ceiling Act.
Mangeshkar owns land admeasuring 38,623 square metres in Kolhapur and wanted to give it to Vikesh Oswal to develop residential and commercial tenements. However, Competent Authority under the Urban Land Ceiling (ULC) Act had declared that 23,889 square metres land is “surplus”.
Mangeshkar then proposed a scheme under section 20 of the ULC Act which was approved by the authorities on July 2, 2007. The scheme envisaged giving some houses to the government at subsided rates, but she did not execute the scheme, since the ULC Act was repealed in November 2007, her petition said.

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