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Bombay HC: Entire family, not sole member to get alternate land; sets aside former minister’s order | India News – Times of India

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MUMBAI: The Bombay high court found an order passed by the revenue minister of Maharashtra in 2018, in connection with alternate land allotment in lieu of the acquisition of villagers’ land for a public irrigation project in Pune district, to be ‘indefensible’ and set it aside. However, the high court confirmed an order passed by the additional collector on February 5, 2015, which allocated the land to three other members of a family.
Justice Sandeep Marne said, “The statutory scheme of Rehabilitation Act, 1986 is such that the entire family will be granted one alternate land.The Act ensures that persons affected by acquisition of their lands for construction of irrigation project are allotted alternate land in the benefited zone,” and added “ It cannot be that when the family looses its land in the affected zone for execution of irrigation project, only one family member gets a windfall in the form of irrigated land in the benefit zone to the exclusion of other family members.”
The HC also said that it “cannot be a mute spectator to misrepresentation of one family member “in getting the alternate land, meant for the entire family, allotted in his sole name.” The minister had passed his order on the basis of such misrepresentation said the HC.
In 2018, H B Neharkar and two other agriculturalists, all from the same family in Pune district, filed a petition to challenge the former minister Chandrakant Patil’s order. This order, prompted by a plea from another family member, Sadashiv Neharkar, had set aside a 2017 order by the additional commissioner, Pune, and the 2015 collector’s order.
These earlier orders directed corrections in a 1988 allotment order of alternate land in lieu of the land acquired in a village for a public project. The Collector had placed the land in the names of the three petitioners, and the Commissioner’s order had upheld this decision.
Aggrieved by the minister setting aside their names, the trio moved the HC. After hearing all the parties, justice Marne pronounced the judgment on December 22, allowing the petition.
The alternate land was obviously meant for the entire family and not for the member who appealed the commissioner’s order that had upheld the collector’s order, in an act of misrepresentation. The HC said “no limitation would apply to set aside an order which is an outcome of fraud and misrepresentation.”
“Respondent No.5 (Sadashiv Neharkar) misrepresented the authorities that he alone was entitled for rehabilitation benefit on account of his father’s death. Since the order dated 25 January 1988 is an outcome of misrepresentation on the part of Respondent No.5, limitation would not come in the way of the Additional Collector in correcting the error which had occurred on account of misrepresentation,” the HC held after hearing advocates Uday B. Nighot for petitioners, PB Shah for Sadashiv Neharkar and AGP S. S. Bhende for State. It said that the minister whose order was passed on plea of Respondent 5, thus is not defensible.
But, on a plea by counsel Shah, the HC extended the interim status quo order granted earlier for six weeks to allow time for an appeal.



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