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Sale of land by Mumbai mills legal: SC

The court said that the changes made in the rules for the development of the mill lands were constitutionally valid.

india Updated: Mar 07, 2006 15:30 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India

The Supreme Court on Tuesday held that the sale of surplus lands by National Textile Corporation was legal.

A bench comprising justice SB Sinha and justice PP Naolekar set aside a Bombay High Court judgement that had held that the sale of surplus lands of NTC mills was contrary to the BIFR scheme and apex court order.

The court said that the changes made in the rules for the development of the mill lands were constitutionally valid.

NTC, Appolo Textile Mills, Mumbai Textile Mills, Eliphinstone Mills, Kohinoor Mills Numbar 3, Jupitor Mills, Bombay Dyeing and several others had challanged the High Court judgement.

The High Court judgement was on a writ petition filed by an NGO, Bombay Environmental Action Group, alleging that surplus lands were sold in violation of rules.

However, the apex court bench said the developmental plan estimated at around Rs 5,000 crore were in conformity with the BIFR scheme.

While allowing the appeal of private property developer the bench said that the environmental aspect and sustainable developement has to go together.

The bench held that the writ petition filed by the NGO before the high court should have been dismissed not only on grounds of delay but also on latches.

The High Court had held that all the constructions carried out by various developers were clearly in violation of common notification of July 7, 2004, as none of them had obtained clearance from Ministry of Environment and Forest.

The NGO had said NTC had 25 textiles mills spread over 285 acres in prime locations of the city estimated to be worth around Rs 5,000 crore.

They had contended that of these, surplus lands of five mills, were sold in violation of the Developement Control (DC) Rules 58.

During the pendency of the appeal, the Bench had passed some interim orders including the one allowing the private property developers, who had bought NTC mills in Mumbai, to go ahead with construction activities.

The Bench had said the order was subject to the outcome of the appeals filed by the developers and NTC.

The interim relief had come on five mills of NTC -- Bombay Textiles Mills, Eliphinstone Mills, Jupiter Mills, Kohinoor Mills and Apollo Mills -- which were sold to private property developers through auctions.

During the pendency of the appeals, the apex court had allowed the NTC Mills and developers of the plots to approach the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and other authorities for clearance of their developmental plans.

First Published: Mar 07, 2006 11:35 IST