The Bombay High Court on Monday asked the state to clarify its stand of not allowing any constructions within 500 metres of prisons. The court asked whether it would be progressive or implemented with retrospective effect.
A division bench of Justice NH Patil and Justice VL Achiliya said, “Security of jails is the responsibility of state authority and it is not proper to put restrictions on private constructions in the vicinity.”
The state government had on December 4, 2013, issued a Government Resolution (GR) stating that no construction would be allowed up to 500 metres around any jail. The policy was issued with security of prison inmates in mind.
The City and Industrial Development Corporation of Maharashtra Limited (CIDCO) informed the court that it had issued stop-work notices to 13 under-construction buildings around Taloja prison.
The bench was informed that the 13 buildings are beyond the earlier buffer zone of 182 metres from the jail but were within the new 500 metres zone.
The court then sought to know from the government if the GR would have a prospective effect or would also effect any ongoing construction. It said: “You (government) need to take some urgent steps and clarify this. Otherwise, private persons are at a loss. They will continue investing in properties and one day the construction will be bulldozed.”
The direction was given during the hearing of a petition filed by Ramesh Upadhyay, accused in the 2008 Malegaon bomb blast case, raising concerns about security threats to inmates of Taloja jail due to the high-rises coming up around it.
The court also asked the government to consider the prison issue with as much priority as it gives to other public projects. The court has scheduled a further hearing on the petition on January 20.