Maharashtra government tells Bombay HC that encroachments on playgrounds can be regularised

Mumbai: The Maharashtra government, which has batted for reserving ‘playgrounds’ in the recently approved Development Plan (DP) 2034, seems to be in no mood to implement it in the true sense. This can be said so since the government on Friday told the Bombay High Court that encroachments on playgrounds can be ‘regularised’ by planning authorities.

This submission was advanced by the government while defending its amendment to the Maharashtra Regional Town Planning (MRTP) Act. By this amendment, the government has proposed to regularise all illegal and unauthorised structures constructed up till December 31, 2015.

Anil Sakhre, the special counsel in the case, while defending the amendment, said, “The encroachments upon playgrounds can be regularised if the encroachers move an application before the planning authority. However, the present amendment does not allow regularisation of the encroachments upon gardens and open spaces.”


“Apart from these, the structures constructed illegally on the green cover, nullahs, river beds, no-development zones and the reserved zones for metro, rail or other projects, cannot be regularised,” Sakhre submitted before a division bench of Justice Abhay Oka and Justice Anil Menon.

The judges are seized of a batch of petitions challenging the amendments on the ground that they violate the right to life of the citizens.

The stand of the government was, however, labelled as its ‘failure’ by senior advocate Aspi Chinoy, who argued on behalf of one of the petitioners. He argued, “The government cannot hide its failure of providing housing to the public in such a manner. It cannot allow trespassing of a public plot by private individuals.”

“If the infrastructure amenities and plots are allowed to be encroached upon by citizens and the same are regularised, then there would be no meaning to the concept of town planning. This is nothing but an ominous intrusion of development and cannot be allowed since it violates the right to life of citizens,” Chinoy submitted.

Having heard the submissions of all the concerned parties, Justice Oka closed the matter for final judgement and is likely to pronounce the verdict post vacations. It may be noted that another bench headed by Justice Oka had last year struck down a provision of the draft policy of the government, wherein regularisation of illegal constructions in prohibited areas after obtaining a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from a competent authority, was allowed.




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