Mumbai, October 26: The Bombay high court last week vacated a June 2006 status quo order regarding some plots of government land at Pune and paved the way for resumption of Pune Metro project work in Yerawada section. The Metro project was stalled for want of a 5,213 square metre area out of the government land.

A division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Girish Kulkarni also directed the Pune district collector to hand over in fifteen days the 5,213 square metres of land required for the project to Maharashtra Metro Rail Corporation Limited (MMRCL), Hindustan Times reported.

MMRCL had moved the court seeking a direction to the Pune collector to hand over the land urgently required for the Metro project.

Senior advocate SK Mishra, who represented MMRCL, pointed out that in November 2019, deputy collector (land acquisition) had informed MMRCL that as per revenue records, this land belonged to the state government and hence, there was no requirement to acquire the land.

Mishra further pointed out that the Pune collector had, however, expressed difficulty in handing over the plot in view of a high court order of June 7, 2006, which came to be passed on a petition filed by Dr. FF Wadia.

Dr. Wadia has challenged an October 1995 order of then revenue minister, by which two orders were passed by Pune district collectorate way back in 1954 in connection with a group of lands, including the land required for Pune metro project.

Acting on Dr. Wadia’s petition, on June 7, 2006, the high court had restrained the revenue authorities from creating any third party rights in the lands by making any allotment or by changing status of the lands in any manner. MMRCL claimed that this June 2006 order prevented the district collector from handing over the land for the Pune Metro project.

Shri Mukund Bhavan Trust had also filed a separate petition challenging the same decision of the revenue minister passed in connection with some watan lands.

Dr. Wadia’s counsel, however, accepted that he was not asserting any private right in the land required by MMRCL for Pune Metro. As regards the Trust, Mishra pointed out that the Trust had signed consent terms before a civil court at Pune and relinquished its rights over certain parts of the land in dispute and thus, there was no legal hurdle in handing over the plot to MMRCL.

The bench said, “It is quite clear to us that neither Dr.Wadia has any claim over the said land nor the trust can have any objection for the land admeasuring 5213.84 sq.metres in Survey no.141 and Survey no.233 to be handed over to the MMRCL as per its requirement.”

“If this be the case, it would be necessary as also in the interest of justice that the interim order dated 7 June 2006 passed be modified so as to enable the State Government / Collector, District Pune to hand over the said land to MMRCL for the Pune Metro Project,” it added.

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