The Maharashtra government on Friday told the Bombay high court that actress-turned-politician Hema Malini had turned down allotment of a prime piece of land in the city for a dance academy, months after an RTI applicant claimed she had acquired it at a very low rate.
Acting on the government’s statement, a bench headed by chief justice Manjula Chellur disposed of a public interest litigation (PIL) challenging the allotment of land.
Nothing survives in the PIL in view of the statement made by government pleader Priyabushan Kakade the actress had declined to accept the offer, said the bench, while disposing of the PIL filed by ex-journalist Ketan Tirodkar.
However, the judges gave liberty to the petitioner to file a fresh petition if in future it came to his notice that the land had been allotted to the actress.
The petitioner’s counsel Sadhana Kumar argued that it had been learnt through the RTI that the land in Amboli area of Andheri had been allotted to Malini at a nominal rate, and since this information was in public domain, the petition should be heard further on merits.
However, the court held that since the cause of action mentioned in the plea did not survive, it was disposing of the PIL.
The PIL said there have been a series of judgements of the high court and the Supreme Court stating that public property cannot be allotted by the state without issuing advertisement inviting applications from the needy people.
It further alleged that the land allotted to the actress for instituting an academy to train students in the Indian classical dance of Bharatnatyam was in violation of the high court orders and norms.