No relief to Sitabuldi shopkeepers in HC

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 04 Oct 2017 09:15:48


Staff Reporter,

Petition against deletion of internal 15-mt road admitted for final hearing

Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court has admitted a petition filed by prominent shopkeepers of Sitabuldi against deletion of a 15-mt internal road connecting Sitabuldi Main Road with Abhyankar Road passing through proposed Glocal Mall, by the Nagpur Improvement Trust on April 24, 2017.


A division bench consisting of Justice Ravi Deshpande and Justice Manish Pitale while admitting the petition for final hearing noted that deletion of the internal road, which is “heart and soul and basic structure of the scheme” wipes out the entire scheme and such questions require deeper scrutiny.

NIT in exercise of the power conferred by Section 46(a) of the NIT Act, deleted 15-meter internal road from the Abhyankar Road widening and Buty Mahal Street Scheme vide a notification dated April 21, 2017 and this was challenged in this latest round of litigation. NIT justified its decision stating that there was no possibility of increase in the estimated net cost of executing scheme by more than 5 per cent and opposed the contention of petitioners.

After a quite lengthy hearing, the High Court did not grant any interim relief to Sitabuldi shopkeepers which in effect has allowed the Glocal Mall developer to go ahead with the
construction as per sanctioned plan.

According to petitioner shopkeepers, who are opposing demolition notice issued to them and alleged favours shown to respondent-mall developer, this internal criss-cross road is vital to decongest Sitabuldi and layout plan sanctioned by the NIT and decision has been taken with an ill-motive to frustrate High Court’s decision dated September 15, 2016.

‘Internal road vital to decongest Sitabuldi’

The High Court in its decision had described 15-mt internal criss-cross road connecting Abhyankar Road and Sitabuldi main road ‘vital to decongest Sitabuldi” and its deletion from the plan sanctioned to pave way for “Glocal Mall” projected as boon for Sitabuldi market as “mischief,” and had held that the lay-out plan sanctioned by NIT and building permit were contrary to Buty Mahal Street Scheme and compromise pursis filed before the Supreme Court. The ongoing construction of Glocal Mall, which was contrary to provisions of Buty Mahal Street Scheme by excluding internal-road would be at the sole risk of developer, the High Court had stated while making it clear that layout plan sanctioned on May 15, 2012, building permit granted on June 27, 2012 and revised on December 11, 2014 were contrary to the provisions of the Scheme and also in breach of the terms of the compromise dated 8­4­2002 before Apex Court.

Apex court hearing on October 24

The NIT and Buty family members have already approached the Supreme Court against this decision stating that the scheme had merged into sanctioned Development Plan and it was wrong to accord primacy to the old scheme to make subsequent developments redundant. The Supreme Court by its interim order has made the orders binding on parties to petition. The next hearing is slated on October 24. Meanwhile a group of shopkeepers, party to compromise pursis before the Supreme Court, have moved a transfer petition before the Supreme Court and hearing is expected on October 10.

‘Glocal Mall will restore glory of Sitabuldi’

This mega-commercial complex Glocal Mall is coming up on 8-acre land belonging to Buty family in heart of Sitabuldi. The developer had promised to accommodate big retailers, existing shopkeepers and even hawkers along with earmarked parking for 1,500 cars, 1800 two wheelers and 1800 bicycles to revive the sagging fortunes of market, but faced stiff resistance from Sitabuldi shopkeepers.
Petitioners claimed that the notices were issued to the petitioners and other shop owners on 23.02.2017 calling them to raise their objections and granting an opportunity of hearing and accordingly, petitioners submitted their replies and objections. Without even referring to these objections, the NIT issued notification on April 24, deleting this 15 mt internal road from the scheme, which according to petitioners, is unsustainable even on the ground of failure to observe the principles of natural justice.

Bitter legal battle on since 2002

It may be recalled that after widening of Abhyankar Road under IRDP, the land owners of the area- Buty family-- decided to develop the said property and roped in private developer. The High Court had dismissed the petition of tenant-shopkeepers. The aggrieved shopkeepers had challenged the order before the Supreme Court and later the matter was settled and a scheme in the nature of compromise with the tenants of Buty took place and it was placed before the Supreme Court on April 8, 2002. Later a big commercial complex Glocal was floated by M/s Goel Ganga Infrastructure and Real Estate Private Ltd in which shopkeepers were accommodated and a big parking facility was promised for all shops. The petitioner-shopkeepers had challenged the NIT notice and alleged that NIT was coercing them to arrive at compromise and since then rounds of litigations were going on.

Senior Counsel Subodh Dharmadhikari and Adv Charuhas Dharmadhikari appeared for the petitioners. Senior Counsel C S Kaptan and Adv Mukesh Samarth (NIT), Senior Counsel Sunil Manohar and Adv Akshay Naik (Goel Ganga), Adv S S Shahane (Buty family), Adv Saket Mone and Adv Nikhil Padhye (Buty), Adv Ravindra Khapre (Intervenor-shopkeepers) represented respondents.