Residents of Khidrapur village in Kolhapur district rendered homeless after the police issued notices to halt reconstruction of their houses near a heritage monument can breathe a sigh of relief.
The Bombay high court recently asked the police not to act on the notice and also granted conditional permission to one of them — Shrikant Koshti — to complete construction of his house.
Several families were rendered homeless after the police, acting on instructions from the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), had issued them notices in July to stop reconstruction work of their homes located near Kopeshwar temple, a monument.
The notice was issued in wake of a March 2010 amendment in the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958. The amended provision prohibits construction within 300m from ancient sites without obtaining permission from a committee.
Koshti, whose house was damaged during the 2006 floods, moved high court. His counsel Dhairyasheel Sutar pointed out that though the provision had been brought in effect in March, no committee or appellate body was set up to consider grievance of persons like the petitioner. Sutar said the panchayat had already granted requisite permissions for reconstruction of the house.
Counsel for the Central government SR Ganbavale, who also represented the ASI, opposed grant of any interim relief saying a competent officer would be appointed soon and thereafter the petitioner’s application would be considered.
The division bench of chief justice Mohit Shah and justice SJ Kathawala accepted Sutar’s contentions.