Providing land to the trust for Bal Thackeray memorial is valid and legal: BMC tells Bombay HC

In a hearing for the two petitions filed by activist Bhagwanji Rayani and NGO Jan Mukti Morcha, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) presented an affidavit before Bombay High Court


On March 14, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) told the Bombay High Court that the due process of law has been followed prior to allotting land in central Mumbai for constructing a memorial for late Shiv Sena leader Bal Thackeray.

The civic body stated in their affidavit submitted to the court that the land was allotted at a nominal rate of ₹1 for the lease period of 30 years and such arrangements had been made in the past for setting memorials of respected people across the state.

BMC filed its affidavit on Thursday before a bench of Chief Justice N H Patil and Justice N M Jamdar, in response to two petitions filed by activist Bhagwanji Rayani and NGO Jan Mukti Morcha. The petition challenged the government's decision to convert the Mayor's bungalow in Shivaji Park into a memorial for Bal Thackeray.

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The petitions were filed in April 2017 when Maharashtra government had proposed to set up the memorial. The affidavit was filed by Parag Masurkar, assistant commissioner (estate) who claimed that as per amendment to section 92 (dd-1) of the Maharashtra Municipal Corporations Act, the BMC chief can grant lease of any property/land owned by the civic body to any person/trust at a nominal rate of ₹1 per year.

The plot in question at Shivaji Park has been allotted to the Balasaheb Thackeray Rashtriya Smarak Trust at a nominal rate of Re 1 per year for a lease period of 30 years considering the aims and objectives for social and public purposes," the affidavit said.

On the other hand, the government counsel Milind Sathe told the court that such state government decisions cannot be questioned through a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) before the court.

More importantly, the petitions challenged the government's decision of providing ₹100 crore budget for the memorial.

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