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Maharashtra government's pre-2000 slum regularisation move is illegal, claim activist

Thursday, 24 July 2014 - 6:55am IST | Agency: dna

Activist Bhagvanji Raiyani, who had filed a public interest litigation opposing regularisation of slums beyond January 1, 1995, has written to Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, saying that the government should not succumb to the pressure before the election and further regularise slums.

The state government issued the government resolution (GR) with regards to the regularisation of pre-2000 illegal slums on Tuesday.

"As the Assembly elections are approaching, there is a clamour from vote bank lobby to pressure the government to extend the date of slum regularization up to January 1, 2000 which is legally not possible," said Raiyani.

He said that the government has filed an affidavit before the Bombay high court saying that it will not regularise slums beyond the 1995 cut-off date. Doing so could invite contempt, he added.

In response to a petition by the Relief Road Housing Societies Association in 1999, the government had filed an affidavit in March 2000, saying that the government would not extend the cut-off date of January 1, 1995. It promised to take necessary steps to remove people who were squatting on government land after January 1, 1995, as expeditiously as possible. The government also passed an ordinance in 2001 regarding this.

In yet another PIL filed by Janhit Manch, of which Raiyani was convenor, with regard to use of Transfer Development Rights (TDR), the HC had passed an order on November 20, 2006.

Although the PIL was dismissed by HC, the judgment read: "We have noted that the existing infrastructure in terms of parks, playgrounds, open spaces, water supply, sanitation and sewerage disposal, ambient quality of Air, and public transport is inadequate. There is serious congestion on roads and railways. Yet considering the cut of date as 01.01.1995 which shall not be extended further....."

Both Janhit Manch and state government have filed separate special leave petitions (SLPs) in the Supreme Court, challenging the HC order. Raiyani said that he would approach the SC and seek an expedited hearing in the SLPs.

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