Gopal Shetty, Bharatiya Janata Party’s member of Legislative Assembly from Borivli, tendered an unconditional apology to the Bombay high court on Friday for misleading voters.
The high court had summoned Shetty for putting up a hoarding misleading voters about court proceedings and making publicity statements in a pending public interest litigation (PIL).
A division bench of justice PB Majmudar and justice Amjad Sayed accepted Shetty’s apology. “He [Shetty] might be doing good work but in pending matters he should not gain publicity. He can give his view after the matter is over,” justice Majmudar said.
The court was hearing a PIL filed by social activist Edwin Britto seeking the restoration of two lakes, which Shetty had reclaimed to develop a garden, in Borivli. The HC directed Shetty and Britto, to refrain from making publicity-seeking statements until the PIL is decided on.
“What we don’t understand is when a matter is pending in high court why both sides are gaining publicity by making statements?” justice Majmudar asked. “We warn both sides, don’t seek publicity in pending litigations. Please keep politics outside the court. We don’t understand politics.”
The court has asked the municipal corporation’s counsel Anil Sakhare to inform the corporation’s officers to make proper inquiries before granting permission to anyone to put up banners and let people know that that banners that malign people will not be allowed.
Justice Majmudar said the PIL should be projected as a genuine litigation and should not be treated as “publicity litigation”. “Nobody should be allowed to take any undue advantage — political or otherwise,” justice Majmudar said.
The court had summoned Shetty for putting up a hoarding, which misled people about court proceedings in a PIL on February 1. The court had, on February 1, only directed the BMC and Mhada to file their replies. Shetty, however, put up a hoarding saying the high court had pulled up Britto, the petitioner. Shetty also claimed that the HC praised his efforts to create a public garden.