Bombay High Court Irked Over Construction Of Godown On Open Land In Pune To Store EVMs And VVPATS

Bombay High Court Irked Over Construction Of Godown On Open Land In Pune To Store EVMs And VVPATS

The court said what concerned it was not the change of use of the plot but the manner in which it was being done without following any procedure as per the law.

Urvi MahajaniUpdated: Thursday, May 09, 2024, 09:30 PM IST
article-image
Bombay High Court | PTI

Mumbai: Expressing displeasure over the proposed construction of a godown to store EVMs (Electronic Voting Machines) and VVPATS (voter-verified paper audit trail) on a plot in Pune reserved for open space, the Bombay High Court remarked that this was lawlessness.

The court said what concerned it was not the change of use of the plot but the manner in which it was being done without following any procedure as per the law. The HC made the observation while hearing a petition by a Pune-resident Prashant Raul contending that the Metro Eco Park at Ravet in Pune was proposed to be used to construct a godown to store EVMs and VVPATS.

Advocate Ronita Bhattacharya, appearing for Raul, submitted that a godown was being built over a plot reserved for recreational space meant for general public. Over 600 plants and trees were planted on the plot as a part of the compensatory plantation for trees felled for construction of Pune Metro project.

In February, the plea contended that a letter was sent by the state government to the District Collector for usage of the open space and an adjacent plot, belonging to the Pune Metropolitan Regional Development Authority [PMRDA] to construct a godown. The adjacent plot was reserved for government purposes.

The District Collector then took over possession of the two plots and started construction of a godown. The bench, after going through the plea, noted that no requisition was made by the Collector, on behalf of the Election Commission of India [ECI], for the plots, as mandated in law.

“How was it done? Is there any law which permits such a requisition without compensation? We understand conducting elections is an overwhelming public purpose in our democracy but even for this law should be followed,” a bench of division bench of Chief Justice DK Upadhyaya and Justice Arif Doctor said.

The bench further remarked: “What concerns us is not the change of use (of the plot) but the manner in which it is being done. It sends a wrong signal. What else is lawlessness if we permit this. A lay man may think of this is an important thing… elections… but no.” Raising concern over the interest of “larger public” and environment, the bench questioned whether the authorities plan to leave any open space for the public or construct a concrete jungle.

Senior counsel Ashutosh Kumbhakoni, appearing for the Collector, assured the court that they will not fell any trees and that the godown was being constructed on the plot reserved for government purposes. “We are not going to construct anything on the plot reserved as open space and we are not going to fell any tree in that open space,” Kumbhakoni said.

The court accepted the statement and kept the matter for hearing on June 18 while asking the respondents to file reply affidavits.

RECENT STORIES

Mumbai News: 4 Booked Under SC/ST Act For Caste-Based Harassment Following JCP Intervention In Vile...

Mumbai News: 4 Booked Under SC/ST Act For Caste-Based Harassment Following JCP Intervention In Vile...

Mumbai: People’s Art Center Hosts ‘Yeh Shaam Mastani’ With Amit Kumar For Charity

Mumbai: People’s Art Center Hosts ‘Yeh Shaam Mastani’ With Amit Kumar For Charity

CM Eknath Shinde Orders Strict Action Against Illegal Pubs In Pune To Combat Drug Issue

CM Eknath Shinde Orders Strict Action Against Illegal Pubs In Pune To Combat  Drug Issue

Mumbai Weather Update: City, Suburbs To See light To Moderate Rainfall Today, IMD Issues Yellow...

Mumbai Weather Update: City, Suburbs To See light To Moderate Rainfall Today, IMD Issues Yellow...

Mumbai: BMC Launches Eco-Friendly Wood Combustion System For Cremation Sites

Mumbai: BMC Launches Eco-Friendly Wood Combustion System For Cremation Sites