Bombay HC Seeks State's Reply Over Status Of Magistrate Court Building

Bombay HC Seeks State's Reply Over Status Of Magistrate Court Building

The court noted that although efforts are being made since 2013, nothing concrete has materialised.

Urvi MahajaniUpdated: Wednesday, March 06, 2024, 07:20 PM IST
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Bombay High Court | File

Noting that the structural audit report by the state government flagged concern over the 79-year-old building in Mulund that houses the Metropolitan Magistrate courts, the Bombay High Court on Wednesday directed the Maharashtra government to file its response to a plea seeking urgent repairs of the same.

Court's observations

The court noted that although efforts are being made since 2013, nothing concrete has materialised."The state of the old building thus necessarily calls upon every stakeholder to construct a new building in respect of which certain efforts were initiated in 2013, however, till date nothing concrete appears to have progressed so far as construction of a new building is concerned," a division bench of Chief Justice DK Upadhyaya and Justice Arif Doctor said.

The court also issued a notice to the respondents on a petition filed by advocate Santosh Dubey. The petition contends that the Topiwala building, which also houses several government departments, was constructed in 1945.

Dubey's technical audit report

Dubey submitted a technical audit report along with a letter dated April 10, 2017, issued by the Executive Engineer (PWD) Special Project Division, which stated that the building is in dilapidated condition. Dubey pointed out there have been instances of ceiling collapse in various parts of the building. The plea emphasises that various stakeholders have been demanding a new building since 2005.

The petition has sought various reliefs, including directions to complete the construction of the new administrative and court building and provision of sufficient funds for the same.

The court questioned government pleader Poornima Kantharia on what the government has been doing since the issues were brought to the notice in 2013.

"Your own technical report has said it is dilapidated"

“It is being brought up since 2013. We are in 2024. What do you want? Your own technical report has said it is dilapidated. Ceilings are falling. By gods grace no one is hurt,” the CJ remarked.

In its order, the court noted: “The building is in dilapidated condition. The technical audit report clearly states that build is ‘techno - economically not feasible’." The court then asked Kantharia to take complete instructions from all the departments concerned on the issue.

The court was not satisfied with the prayers in the petition, which has been filed by an advocate, however, considering public interest, it decided to entertain the plea and sought response from the authorities.

“Prayers in this petition, though not properly worded, having regard to the larger public interest involved, we are entertaining the petition. Government pleader shall have complete instructions from the state government,” the bench added.

The HC has kept the matter for hearing after four weeks.

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