Mumbai News: Trust Files Petition In Bombay HC Challenging Cancellation Of Wilson College Gymkhana Lease

Mumbai News: Trust Files Petition In Bombay HC Challenging Cancellation Of Wilson College Gymkhana Lease

UCNITA’s petition prays for a stay on the MRT and the district collector’s order till the petition is disposed of.

Manoj RamakrishnanUpdated: Friday, March 29, 2024, 12:43 AM IST
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Wilson College (Website)

Wilson College in Chowpatty, which has been accused of losing the lease on its gymkhana on Marine Drive, has filed a writ petition in the Bombay High Court, saying that the order of the district collector in December 2023, cancelling the lease was “arbitrary” and that the collector “did not give the petitioners a reasonable opportunity of being heard”.

Petition Filed By UCNITA In Bombay HC

The petition has been filed by the United Church of North India Trust Association (UCNITA) on behalf of the college. UCNITA owned the lease and their petition is expected to come up for a hearing next week. The land was managed by the John Wilson Education Society. UCNITA took over the property from the Church of Scotland.

Members of the Church of North India (CNI) have accused the college management of not acting fast to retain the lease. On March 16, the Maharashtra state government approved a 1.02 lakh sq ft plot at Marine Lines for a gymkhana for the Jain community on a 30-year lease. Though there was no indication in the announcement that the land was the Wilson College gymkhana, community members suspected that the land on which the Jain gymkhana was proposed was the college ground. 

Land Lease Issues And Legal Challenges Faced By Wilson College Gymkhana

The last lease deed between the government and UCNITA (signed in September 1998) lapsed in December 1999. After the announcement of a new lease policy, the state government allowed the college to use the gymkhana at a higher lease rent, but there were allegations that the land was being rented out for events.

After an inquiry into the mismanagement of the plot, the district collector, on December 5, 2023, decided to take over the land. This was challenged by UCNITA before the Maharashtra Revenue Tribunal (MRT), which on March 11, 2024, dismissed the appeal.

UCNITA’s petition prays for a stay on the MRT and the district collector’s order till the petition is disposed of.

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