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PIL filed against carving out Palghar district; Bombay High Court sets hearing for tomorrow

A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) has been filed in the Bombay High Court by a group of local political leaders and social activists opposing the Maharashtra government’s decision to bifurcate Thane district and carve out a new district with its headquarters at Palghar.

The PIL has demanded to “quash and set aside the said political decision of the government.”

A total of 33 persons, including CPI(M) MLA Raja Nathu Ozare (from Jawhar), NCP state unit secretary Rajaram Mukne, ex-MLA and MP from CPI(M) Lahanu Shidwa Kom, Vikramgadh BJP president Sudhakar Patil and Adiwasi Ekta Parishad president Kaluram Dodhade, yesterday filed the PIL against the creation of the new district, which will come into being from August 1.

The PIL is posted for hearing tomorrow.

The PIL alleged that the decision to have new district headquarters at Palghar is a political one taken by the “insensitive” government under pressure of administration only for the convenience of the administrative staff of the newly created district and in violation of the norms which are required to be followed for the same.

“The decision to have proposed headquarters at Palghar is discriminatory and violative of fundamental rights, guaranteed under Articles 14 and 19 of the Constitution for tribal and backward class people of the region.

“Their decision is arbitrary, malafide, contrary to public opinion and views of all the five panchayat samitis, MLAs and MPs of area,” the PIL alleged.

Having a headquarters of a district more than 150-200 kms from most of the predominantly tribal areas of the proposed district Palghar is a negation of the right to live and right to have a dignified life as guaranteed by Article 21 of the Constitution of India, the PIL further alleged.

“The decision is also violative of the directive principles of the state policy and the object of Articles 243 to 243(o) of the Constitution of India are thereby defeated. The decision to have headquarters at Palghar is violative of constitutional rights of tribal and backward class people and the other poor people of the region,” it said.

The petitioners have also stated that this is a fit case for declaring a separate autonomous district for tribals.

They have urged the court to quash the government’s decision and restrain the government from shifting the offices from Jawhar to Palghar and having the headquarters of newly created district at Palghar.

They also urged the court to direct the respondents to form a separate tribal district consisting of the scheduled areas of Jawhar, Wada, Vikramgadh, Mokhada, Talasari, Dahanu and parts of Palghar, Sahapur and Vasai which are declared as scheduled areas under the 5th Schedule of the Constitution.

The respondents to the petition are Maharashtra government, principal secretaries in department of revenue and forest, tribal development department, Konkan divisional commissioner, and collector and additional collector of Thane district.

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