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Politicians are not above law, they are not God, says Bombay high court

Court asks police to book BJP’s Parshuram Mhatre and Shiv Sena’s Anita Patil for allegedly encroaching on mangroves at Mira Road

mumbai Updated: Feb 23, 2018 11:16 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Bombay high court,mangroves,encroachment
The petitioner told the court that the police were yet to take any action against the offers as they enjoy political support.(HT FILE)

Politicians are not above the law, the Bombay high court said while directing the police to book two corporators for allegedly encroaching on mangroves at Mira Road. A division bench of justice SC Dharamadhikari and justice Bharati Dangre directed police to book two corporators — BJP’s Parshuram Mhatre and Shiv Sena’s Anita Patil — for contravening provisions of the Environment (Protection) Act. “Political leaders are not above the law. They are not God, or someone who can claim a right to be in contravention of laws,” the judges said.

They sought to know why the municipal corporation and the local police were afraid of initiating action against the offenders. “You must be bold and not fear anyone,” the bench told them.

The court was hearing a PIL filed by local activist Bharat Mokal, complaining that Mhatre and Patil had destroyed mangroves and constructed their residential bungalows and offices by encroaching upon reclaimed public land.

According to Mokal, in March 2016, the local tehsildar had filed an inspection report of the site and named the local politicians, along with four others, as people responsible for the destruction of mangroves and encroachment on public land.

Although the petitioner lodged complaints against the two corporators with the local police, no action was taken. “The police is yet to take any action against them because they enjoy political patronage,” his lawyer Dadhichi Mhaispurkar told the court.

Police, on the other hand, sought more time to “study” the relevant provisions of the Environment Protection Act. The statement irked the judges, who pointed out sections of the Environment (Protection) Act.

First Published: Feb 22, 2018 16:20 IST