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SC reprimands Maharashtra Govt for cancellation of Land Allotment to Private Enterprises

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Supreme Court - law insider

Nishka Srinivas Veluvali –

Published On: November 30, 2021 at 21:10 IST

The Supreme Court on Monday, 29 November disallowed the practice of the “regime revenge” as it rebuked the Maharashtra Government for abandoning the land allotment process to the private enterprises after the Chief of City Planning Agency was changed.

The Bench led by Chief Justice of India NV Ramana stated that, “It is pertinent to remember that, by merely using grounds of public interest or loss to the treasury, the successor public authority cannot undo the work undertaken by the previous authority. Such a claim must be proven using material facts, evidence and figures. If it were otherwise, then there will remain no sanctity in the words and undertaking of the Government.

The Court also observed that “Such a practice is counter-productive to the economy and the business environment in general. The constitutional guarantee against arbitrariness, as provided under Article 14, demands the state to act in a fair and reasonable manner unless public interest demands otherwise.”

The Bench was hearing the Petition filed by the City and Industrial Development Corporation of Maharashtra (CIDCO) opposing the 2013 Verdict of the Bombay High Court.

The Bombay High Court had dismissed the CIDCO’s decision of cancelling the land allotment to M/s metropolis Hotels, which they were granted in 2008 on lease for constructing a Hotel around the Navi Mumbai proposed Airport.

Metropolis Hotels in March 2010 applied for subdivision of the plot and change of land use for half plot from commercial to residential- cum- commercial, following the site of proposed airport changed. Considering this request CIDCO provided two separate lease deeds in respect of the two plots.

Later on, some complaints were raised against Metropolis with connection to irregularities in allotment of plots of land and change of user.

After which the Maharashtra Government commenced an inquiry on the new chairman of the CIDCO and issued a Show – Cause Notice to the latter in 2010 December and were finally stopped from allotting the lands.

Following which Metropolis moved to High Court which granted its Petition and regained the allotment process.

The Apex Court quashed the CIDCO’s appeal opposing the High Court Order and noted that, “The contradictory submissions asserted before this court and the concessions given regarding practice of CIDCO to allow change in land use in other cases, clearly points to a ‘regime revenge’… the earlier undertakings taken by the authorities cannot be set aside with the change of person in power, without any rhyme or reason.”