Kanjurmarg land dispute: After Union govt, now Railways and BMC too claim ownership over parts of land

The dispute pertains to a decree passed by the HC in October 2020 to the private firm

Urvi MahajaniUpdated: Tuesday, June 14, 2022, 10:45 PM IST
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Photo: BL Soni

The Bombay High Court on Tuesday reserved the order in the plea by Maharashtra government challenging the decree granting over 6000-acre land at suburban Kanjurmarg to a private firm Adarsh Water Parks and Resorts, a part of which is to be used to construct the proposed metro car shed.

Justice AK Menon is likely to pronounce the order on Wednesday.

The dispute pertains to a decree passed by the HC in October 2020 to the private firm. However, it was only in March this year that the state government learnt about the decree. Hence it filed an application before the HC challenging the decree and sought that it be held illegal.

This apart, there is a dispute between the Maharashtra and the Union governments over the ownership of the said land where the former has proposed to construct a car shed for its Metro project in around 100 acre of the said land.

Along with the Union government, the Railways and the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) have filed affidavits claiming ownership and title over part of the land at Kanjur Village. The state and Central governments, the BMC and the Railways have all claimed that the private parties have 'played fraud' upon the court and obtained the decree in their favour.

An affidavit filed by Mohammed Afaque, divisional engineer (land management) with the Railways states that the land measuring 0.9 hectares or 9,256 square meters has the name of Central Railway as owner in 7/12 extracts.

The Railways has sought that till the decision on the government’s application, the parties in the suit must be restrained from acting in furtherance of the consent terms. Besides, the parties must be directed to disclose action taken by them including signing of deeds, documents, papers and whether they have created any encumbrances, mortgages and third-party rights.

“The said consent terms being a fraud upon this hon’ble court amount to an abuse of the process of this court and the parties to the said suit should be dealt with the strictest manner including issuance of proceedings of contempt of court and exemplary cost should be imposed upon the parties to the suit,” adds the Railway’s affidavit.

Affidavit filed by BMC too states that it owns part of the land in Kanjur village and the private parties have “suppressed material facts” or there are “attempts to mislead the court and have approached the court with unclean hands”.

They have withheld “vital and relevant material” in order to gain advantage and “trying to usurp land”, adds the BMC affidavit filed by PU Vaidya, executive engineer in the Development Plan Department.

According to the corporation, it was allotted over 141 hectares of land to use as a dumping ground as per the directions of the Supreme Court.

The Railways and the BMC have sought that the order of consent terms should be set aside and be declared as void.

Last week, the Union government had filed an affidavit reiterating its ownership and title over the disputed land in Kanjurmarg and claimed that the decree in the name of a private firm with respect to the land was obtained by “fraud” and should be held as null and void.

“The Union government denies that the applicant (Maharashtra government) or any other party has any right, title and interest or possession of the land,” stated the affidavit filed by the Defence Estates Officer of the Union government.

Background

On October 28, 2020, the HC had passed an order in a 2006 suit filed by the private firm against few persons. The firm had sought specific performance or compliance of an agreement of August 2005, as per which, it claimed, that it was granted development rights of the entire Kanjur village.

The state government has contended that the High Court was then not informed that of the over 6,000 acre land, over 1,800 acres belonged to the state government, nearly 120 acre to the Centre and nearly 200 acre of land parcels in Kanjurmarg village to the BMC.

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