No right to build private pond for immersion in public area: Bombay High Court

by The Technical Blogs


The Bombay High Court upheld the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC)’s order of denying permission to city-based mandals (groups) to create a private immersion pond for the Ganesh Chaturthi festival.

The court said that no individual or organisation has a fundamental right to create a private immersion pond in a public park maintained by the municipal corporation.

“Permission is required, and that this is in the discretion of the Municipal Corporation, is not just undeniable, but is not disputed,” the court said.

The order comes in response to a petition filed by Durga Parmeshwari Seva Mandal, led by former NCP corporator Rakhee Jadhav, who sought to establish a private immersion pond in suburban Ghatkopar.

The bench, comprising Justices Gautam Patel and Kamal Khata, dismissed the plea, and said, “Private religious sentiments, no matter from what quarter they come, cannot prevail over the much wider concerns of civic governance.”

Responding to this, the mandal alleged that the denial of permission was a case of selective targeting, influenced by BJP leader Balachandra Shirsat, a former corporator who had written to minister Magal Prabhat Lodha against allowing the idol immersion.

However, the court said that merely accusing a corporator or minister does not substantiate a case or provide a cause of action.

The court added, “Simply naming or pointing to some politician to suggest that, axiomatically — i.e., because some politician has acted in a certain manner — therefore, and necessarily, an administration action is actuated by malice or mala fides [SIC]”.

“We have no hesitation in holding that a corporator or minister, as part of the obligations of such an office to the electorate, is fully entitled to receiving and, if thought fit, acting on a representation made by any person. Per se, that cannot be objectionable,” the bench said.

Backing the civic body’s decision, the court said, “Indeed, we find the approach of the BMC to be entirely salutary. These are after all matters of civic and municipal administration and should not be left to private parties at all,” the bench added.

The hearing concluded with the bench stating, “The contention that because permission was granted in the past, therefore it must be granted for all time to come is one that has only to be stated to be rejected” (sic) and denying the petitioner’s claim of being “singled out” by the authorities.

Published On:

Sep 11, 2023


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