HC ‘no’ to modify order restraining UDD from taking decision about NIT

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 05 Jul 2018 09:34:46


Staff Reporter,

Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court on Wednesday refused to modify its order restraining Urban Development Department (UDD) from taking any major policy decision about Nagpur Improvement Trust (NIT).

A division bench consisting of Justice Bhushan Dharmadhikari and Justice Z A Haq, while hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by social activist Satyvrat alias Mannu Dutta opposing scrapping of NIT, refused to modify their June 13 order and adjourned the matter for two weeks. The High Court had restrained the respondents from taking any policy decision in relation to affairs or schemes of NIT.

NIT, in its application, claimed that due to this restraining order, day-to-day work of NIT has been affected and sought a relief and clarification in the order to continue its functioning till its merger with Nagpur Municipal Corporation.

However, the High Court made it clear that last order was passed after hearing both the sides and even though some decisions might have been affected, that was no good reason to modify the order.

According to the petitioner, NIT was formed with an intention to development Nagpur city. NIT had been creating water supply, drainage and other amenities in various layouts. On December 27, 2016, State Cabinet decided to abolish NIT and transfer all the powers to NMC. The process of ‘merger’ of NIT into NMC was to be completed by December 31, 2017. A committee headed by Principal Secretary was appointed for the purpose.
The petitioner stated that NIT had its separate budget, and it was earning profits.

State Government had drawn funds from NIT but had not returned the same. On the contrary NMC’s financial health was in doldrums.

Dutta claimed that the possibility of NIT’s ‘merger’ into NMC putting additional financial burden on the latter could not be denied. Before abolishing NIT, the Government should have appointed a committee to draw up a proper plan to carry out the process. The counsel for the petitioner pointed out that Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, (when he was opposition MLA) had filed a PIL in 2005 and had demanded that the State Government should appoint a committee and draw up a proper plan to carry out NIT’s abolition. However, the petitioner alleged, the State Government now had taken decision to abolish NIT purely for political reasons.

The petitioner urged the court to scrap the Government’s decision to abolish NIT.

Till then, no decision should be taken unless there was clear policy regarding the fate of employees and plots of NIT after abolition, he urged. Adv Shrirang Bhandarkar represented the petitioner. Adv Mukesh Samarth appeared for the NIT.