Over 2,000 sq m of a plot allotted to a private school by the state government was set aside by the Bombay high court on Thursday.
The state had issued a resolution in 1990 allotting 2,850 sq m of a 5,700-sq m plot to GD Somani School, Cuffe Parade, to develop it as its playground. The school was to construct a municipal school building on the other half.
A division bench of justice DK Deshmukh and justice ND Deshpande observed: “As the corporation is in position to construct a school building, therefore, justification given by the government for allotting 50% of the plot to the school trust no longer exists and there is no reason why 50% of land should be allotted to the trust.”
The court has directed the state to continue with the same terms on which it was granted to the corporation by order date March 12, 1980. In 1990, the BMC informed the state that it did not have the money and proposed the adjoining GD Somani School’s trust be allowed to construct the school and develop the remaining as its playground.
The state allotted the plot to the school without calling for tenders or issuing public notice.
Cuffe Parade Residents’ Association through their counsels Aspi Chenoy and Beni Chatterji field petition in the court in 1991 challenging the allotment. The court said the state should have informed the public and asked whether there was anyone else who was interested in developing the plot.
Government pleader KR Belosay said the trust had agreed to pay Rs32 lakh per year as lease for the plot.
The court has stayed its order for 10 weeks to allow the state to approach the Supreme Court.