Bombay high court raps Sushilkumar Shinde for ‘protecting Sushil Sabhagriha’ in Maharashtra
The bench has now directed advocate DG Dhanure, counsel for the Solapur Municipal Corporation, to ensure the illegal portions of the offending structure are demolished within two weeksmumbai Updated: Aug 11, 2017 01:24 IST
“Is this the manner in which a Union Home Minister acts under pressure of his electorate?” questioned the Bombay high court on Thursday, while expressing displeasure over the conduct of former Union home minister Sushilkumar Shinde, who took personal interest in protecting an illegal structure named “Sushil Sabhagriha” at Solapur. The court also questioned the order of former Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, who on Shinde’s application, stayed the proposed demolition of the structure.
“This is the manner in which the Union home minister acted under pressures of his electorate,” said a bench of justice Bhushan Gavai and justice Makarand Karnik, disapproving the conduct of the two politicians. The other aspect that irked the judges was that the chief minister has no authority to entertain an appeal against the notice issued for demolition of an illegal structure and to stay such proposed demolition.
“Can that be a ground for condoning the illegal manner in which the government functioned,” asked the bench after Chavan’s lawyer sought leniency, saying now the appeal had been withdrawn, the stay order was gone even the government had changed.
The bench has now directed advocate DG Dhanure, counsel for the Solapur Municipal Corporation, to ensure the illegal portions of the offending structure are demolished within two weeks. It also directed Chavan to file an affidavit in reply to the petition explaining his position.
It was hearing a petition filed by Vijaykumar Mahagaonkar challenging the January 17, 2014, order passed by the then chief minister staying demolition of the illegal marriage hall at Solapur named after the local Congress leader.
Responding to the petition, Shinde’s counsel, advocate Vishwajeet Kapase, submitted that the owner of the land, now deceased Vishnupant Kothe, was a Congress worker and Shinde had merely requested the chief minster “to look into the matter” after satisfying himself that the requisite permissions were in place.
Kapse said he was shown the permission granted by the municipal corporation to put up the construction and the Congress leader was made to believe the civic body had issued a demolition notice despite having the requisite permissions. Kapse said the former Union minister neither intended to seek nor sought protection for any illegal construction.
Earlier, another bench headed by justice Abhay Oka had also criticised the Congress leaders. “This is one of the rare cases where the learned Union home minister personally went to the then chief minister and sought a stay on the demolition,” justice Oka had said during the course of earlier hearing on the petition.
But the bench had allowed the land owners to withdraw the appeal filed before the chief minister and granted them liberty to initiate proceedings for regularisation of the structure.