The state government, in an affidavit filed before the two-member Adarsh commission, has claimed ownership of the controversial Colaba plot on the basis of two laws regulating land ownership and tenancy in the state — the Maharashtra Land Revenue Code, 1966, and the law prior to it, Bombay Land Revenue Code, 1879.
The affidavit filed by the city collector, Chandrashekhar Oak, before the Adarsh commission on Monday, has challenged the ownership claims by the Army pointing to these two laws.
“The state government has maintained that the Adarsh plot was never legally in the possession of the Indian Army or prior to that, to the British Army. Our claim relies on the Maharashtra Land Revenue Code and the Act prior to that which states all foreshore (existing before reclamation), reclaimed land belongs to the state,” said Anil Sakhare senior advocate and counsel for the state.
Sources said the state’s affidavit referred to Section 294 of the Maharashtra Land Revenue Code which states: every unoccupied portion of the foreshore, below high water, shall be deemed the property of the state government.
The state government’s stand is that Block 6 of Backbay Reclamation (including the Adarsh plot) is partly foreshore land and partly reclaimed post the 1960s. In both cases, the state claims the land belongs to the state.
The Army in its affidavit before the commission said the plot was in the possession of the army even before 1937 and was used by the federal government. It has no record of this land in its military land register but has dug out old maps from Bombay Archives (1897), Survey of India (1957) to support its claim.