Bombay HC rejects three PIL challenging permission granted to Lake City Corporation to purchase lands for Lavasa Hill Station Project

The Bombay High Court rejected three PIL challenging permission granted to Lake City Corporation to purchase lands for Lavasa Hill Station Project.

Background 

The Lavasa Hill Station Project, the brainchild of a prominent political personality of Maharashtra (Shri Sharad Pawar), although was conceived on paper to promote tourism and related activities but ultimately, in reality, resulted in advancing extraneous considerations including promotion of real estate business. For facilitating such veiled project, not only the GoM but also the legislative wing of the State acted in tandem to carve out benefits in favour of a class of persons having sound political connections; and, all these, at the cost of poor farmers, who were compelled to surrender their property rights for peanuts. In the bargain, it was favouritism, nepotism, illegality and arbitrariness that triumphed. The effort of the petitioner is to have the same undone.

Arguments 

Advocate Kadam, appearing for the respondents, contended that the principle underlying Rule 1 of Order XXIII of the C.P.C. is founded on public policy and being different from res judicata, is intended to discourage litigants from indulging in bench-hunting tactics. He further contended that the law confers upon a man no rights or benefits which he does not desire; and whoever waives, abandons or disclaims a right, will lose it.

Decision 

The division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice G. S. Kulkarni noted that the petitioner nonetheless has shown a serious concern and commitment to take up the cause as espoused in the writ petition. 

The court stated that it is the ordinary rule of litigation that the rights of parties would stand crystallized on the date of commencement of litigation and the right to relief should be decided by reference to the date on which the petitioner entered the portals of the Court. 

The court said that the events between the cause of action and the date of commencement of this litigation ought to lead to denial of relief in equity by efflux of time. Delay defeats equity. Indubitably, third-party interests have been created and granting relief to the petitioner, as prayed, would most certainly result in unsettling settled matters on account of events happening in-between.

The court stated that if there has not been a single foray to the Court at the instance of the farmers to protect their properties, it would not be unreasonable to assume that they were/are happy and satisfied with whatever bargain they were able to make. Property right, though no longer a Fundamental Right, is still a Constitutional right and could have been enforced by any disgruntled farmer. 

In such circumstances, the court felt that at this late stage, public interest is not likely to be served by its interference and made it clear that no observation made above is intended to prejudice or influence any other connected/related proceedings that are pending before the Court. 

Case title: Nanasaheb Vasantrao Jadhav v/s State of Maharashtra and Ors.

Citation: PUBLIC INTEREST LITIGATION NO. 146 OF 2018

Click here to read the Order/Judgment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *