Reconsider move to acquire church land: HC to civic body | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Reconsider move to acquire church land: HC to civic body

The civic body has been knocking on the doors of St Stephen Church in south Mumbai since 1997, asking them to peacefully give up a portion of their land for road-widening.

mumbai Updated: Mar 08, 2011 01:03 IST
Urvi Mahajani

The civic body has been knocking on the doors of St Stephen Church in south Mumbai since 1997, asking them to peacefully give up a portion of their land for road-widening.

But, the Bombay high court wants the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to reconsider its decision.

The corporation had issued the notice saying that the area outside the church was required to ease traffic situation on the road. However, if the civic body decides to go ahead with its plan, statues of Jesus Christ and Mother Mary would have to be removed from the church’s premises.

On Monday, a division bench of justice DK Deshmukh and justice AV Mohta was hearing a petition filed by Rev Father Jude Pereira, one of the trustees, challenging the notice issued by the corporation. His petition claimed that they had already handed over part of the church land to the BMC in 1973.

The corporation had said no further setback would be allowed, the petition clai-
med.

The high court has asked Pereira to make a representation before the municipal commissioner or any officer concerned against the land acquisition.

The petitioner’s advocate, Joaquin Reis, argued that if they handed over more land to the corporation then the steps to the church would lead directly to the main road.

This could lead to accident on important days when several people gather in the church, said Reis.

The petition said they had earlier made representations to the corporation, but were turned down.

Apprehending that the corporation may take action and demolish the boundary wall of the church, a petition was filed in the high court.

The petition also said the church ran a KG school for poor children in the area and if the compound wall was demolished it could risk the children’s
lives.

Also, the statues of Jesus Christ and Mother Mary would have to be uprooted that would affect to religious sentiments of the people.

The petition prays that the BMC notice should be quashed and the civic body should be restrained from taking away the land in setback.

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