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[Lavasa Project] Sharad Pawar, Supriya Sule have failed to rebut allegations, says Bombay High Court but rejects petitions citing delay

The Court, however, noted that the allegations levelled in the petition against Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar and his daughter and Member of Parliament, Supriya Sule have not been rebutted by them and would, therefore, have to be assumed as correct.

“The challenge not having been countered, we are left to judge the veracity of the allegations on tests of probability without anything more substantial by way of answer. Pawar and Sule being personally interested in the project of the hill station, it is proved by preponderance of probability that the allegations are true,” the order emphasized.

But the Bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice GS Kulkarni deemed it fit to have a “judicial hands-off” approach since one of the objections to the plea was the delay in approaching the Court.

“If at all interference were an option, in our considered opinion, the harm that interference at this belated stage would cause is likely to far out-weigh the benefit that could, if at all, accrue to the farmers on whose behalf the petitioner has instituted this writ petition,” the Court said.

The Court also noted that by now, farmers would have lost rights in respect of their properties and developed third party interests. Additionally, the lands may not be conducive for farming.

Further, there is no claim that farmers have not received compensation, and since not even a single farmer has approached the Court with grievance about the bargain, it would be safe to assume they are happy with the same, the Court concluded.

“Property right, though no longer a Fundamental Right, is still a Constitutional right and could have been enforced by any disgruntled farmer,” the Court held rejecting the reliefs sought.

The petitioners, Nanasaheb Vasantrao Jadhav and others had contended that the permission given to Lavasa was totally illegal and void ab initio because of undue political favouritism.

The petitioners levelled allegations against NCP Chief Sharad Pawar, his daughter Supriya Sule and Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar.

According to the petitioner, but for the influence by these politicians, the officials of the State government and Maharashtra Krishna valley Development Corporation would not have succumbed and taken decisions contrary to law and prejudicial to public interest.

Source: Barandbench

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